Cardiovascular Disease: Essentials of Caregiving


“When taking care of someone with heart disease, it’s essential that the caregiver take breaks to avoid burnout and accept help from others. Often times, caregivers will abandon their own healthcare needs.”

Cardiovascular Diseases (CVD) are the number one cause of death globally. However it can be controlled by making certain lifestyle changes.

In this article 2 cardiologists provide tips on how family caregivers can take care of a loved one suffering from a heart disease.

Diet is of utmost importance for patients with CVD. The doctors recommend staying away from fried and other junk food and including a protein and 2 different colored fruits or vegetables with every meal. When choosing a protein it is better to stick to lean meats such as fish and chicken. Indulging can be allowed but smaller portions are highly recommended.

Physical activity is crucial for better cardiovascular health. Those suffering from a cardiovascular disease must ensure they get a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day and alternate between aerobic and strength training. Caregivers can make the process easier by supporting their loved ones and doing these exercises together to make it more fun.

“It’s important to keep an up-to-date list of medications and bring it to your doctor’s office for every visit for review. Know their names and if there are generic substitution”

When managing medication its best for caregivers to assist when required. Patients should manage it themselves and understand why they are taking it. Caregivers can help by providing pillboxes. Even though caregivers do not take on the full responsibility of managing medication, they must be up to date with the list of medications required. A caregiver must also watch out for any warning signs and encourage the patient to discuss it with the doctor. Caregivers too can discuss any of their concerns about the patient’s heart problems. Communication is key and both patient and caregiver must be on the same page.

Lastly, patients must continue to do activities they enjoy and caregivers need to support them. Caregivers too need to take care of themselves to avoid burnout.

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