Have-a-Heart, #UseHeart

A World Heart Day Special for BNC readers

Currently, the majority of the population in India encounters cardiovascular problems. A faulty lifestyle, family history, and lack of proper treatment can worsen these issues.

By Dr Narayan Gadkar

(Consultant Cardiologist, Zen ​ Multi-speciality​ Hospital ​, Mumbai)

Coronavirus is a matter of public concern not only in India but around the world. The pandemic is worrisome for patients with comorbidities such as diabetes and heart problems. Yes, you have heard it right! This year, on the occasion of World Heart Day with the theme #UseHeart to beat the cardiovascular disease, we tell you how to take care of the heart patient in your family. Follow the vital tips given by us and help the patient lead improve his/her quality of life.

Is your loved one suffering from cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, arrhythmia, peripheral artery disease or cardiomyopathy? Are you worried about their heart health? Want to know how to take care of these patients? Do you want to know tips for the caregivers? Then, don’t forget to read this article as we tell you how you can help patients with heart problems stay hale and hearty amid pandemic.

Currently, the majority of the population in India encounters cardiovascular problems. A faulty lifestyle, family history, and lack of proper treatment can worsen these issues. Thus, it is imperative to seek proper medical attention if you or your loved one tends to suffer from any heart issues. Moreover, if you are a caregiver for any of your family members then remember a few tips that will help you and your loved one.

Here, we lay down a few tips about how to take care when there is a heart patient in your family

Regular exercise: If your family member is not physically active then make him/her understand the importance of exercising every day. Try to accompany them for exercising in the morning may be near your building area or in the garden where there are fewer crowds. Ensure that you both adhere to the COVID-19 protocol by wearing a face mask, gloves, and carrying a sanitizer. You can opt for activities such as walking, aerobics, or yoga. Strength training can also be a good idea. But, do not do any exercise rigorously. You can also hire a physical trainer for your loved one who is trying to tackle his/her heart problems. This will ensure that the person meets his daily exercise needs along with the safety.

Mind your diet: Help your family member eat right! Try to include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and pulses in the diet. See to it that your loved one avoids eating processed, oily, junk, spicy, and outside food. This can give a tough time to the patient’s heart. Watch the sodium content and do not go overboard on it. Avoid foods loaded with carbohydrates such as rice and even that wheat flour.

Medication and follow-ups: Try to monitor the blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and the blood glucose levels of your loved one from time to time. Stock up their medication and see to it that the patient takes it on time. If the patient is called for a follow-up then try to accompany him/her. After all, the person will require moral support right? Keep the doctor updated about the patient’s health or if you notice any unusual symptoms then immediately inform the doctor. Educate yourself about their illness and this will in turn help the patient as well to fight it

Let them express: Try to talk to your loved one. Ensure that there is no lack of communication. Let them open up about how they feel. Ask them if they feel lonely or tired. Help them cope up physically as well as emotionally. Try to beat boredom with them by doing activities of their choice such as dancing, singing, painting, or gardening. Be available for your loved one instead of getting angry or frustrated.

Give some quality time: It is imperative to stay at home during the pandemic, follow all COVID norms like maintaining a social distance, not being around sick people, and using hand sanitizers. Most importantly, venture out of the house only when it’s absolutely necessary. So, try to spend some quality time with heart patients at home, a trip down the memory lane can make the patient happy. Revisit those happy moments and cherish them and help the patient carry out their daily chores.

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