Heart and Vascular Care
Want to learn more about this at Kettering Health?
Having a healthy heart is essential to your health. That is why if your doctor suspects a problem with your ticker, he or she may recommend one or more of these treatment options.
“Often the first step to a stronger heart is a change in habits,” says Dr. Harvey Hahn, a cardiologist. Dr. Hahn recommends the following to help get you in shape:
- Practice smart eating. Focus on enjoying a more plant-based diet—one that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Make meat a secondary item on your plate. Limit sodium and saturated fats.
- Aim for a healthy weight. Even a small weight loss (if you are overweight) can provide a big benefit.
- Say no to stress overload. Learn to relax with deep-breathing exercises or consider taking a stress-management class.
- Get active. Just be sure to review your new exercise plan with your doctor first.
- If you light up, quit. Giving up smoking may be the healthiest change you can make.
A diagnosis of heart disease can trigger a list of new medications. Some of these drugs might do double duty.
For example, a class of drugs called ACE inhibitors treats both high blood pressure and heart failure. Beta-blockers may lower blood pressure, relieve chest pain and treat abnormal heart rhythms.
If lifestyle changes cannot control your cholesterol, your doctor might prescribe a statin medication.
Implantable medical devices
Probably the best-known of these is a pacemaker. The wires of this small, battery-powered device are inserted into the heart tissue to help keep the heart beating in a regular rhythm.
Also inserted into heart tissue are the wires of an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). An ICD keeps track of the heart’s rate and can deliver electrical shocks to return the heart to a normal rhythm.
Procedures and surgery
During angioplasty, a long flexible tube (catheter) is inserted through an artery or vein. At the tip of the catheter is a deflated balloon. The catheter is threaded up to the blockage. The balloon is then inflated, crushing the plaque against the artery wall and restoring blood flow. Often a mesh tube called a stent is placed in the artery to help keep the artery open.
During coronary artery bypass grafting, also called open-heart surgery, a healthy vein or artery from another body part is used to reroute blood flow around the blockage and to the heart.
The month's most popular health news, stories, and tips in your inbox.Sign Up