The Emotional Side Effects of Open-Heart Surgery

Open heart surgery is one of the most invasive and stressful procedures doctors perform. To expose the heart for major repairs, a long incision in the chest is made, the breast bone is broken, and a heart-lung machine is used to pump blood in place of the heart. All of this places great stress on your body. Open heart surgery is not minimally invasive heart surgery. Living with, and through, the physical effects of open-heart surgery can be daunting. Included are pain at the incision site, muscle pain, or throat pain. If you have chest tubes for drainage, those can also be uncomfortable. Despite the discomfort, post-surgical pain usually disappears after 6 – 8 weeks. However, other kinds of problems can linger? The emotional side effects of open-heart surgery might surprise you.   Personality and Emotional Changes People who have had open heart surgery report mood changes, as do people close to them. Anxiety and depression are the most commonly experienced emotions after heart surgery. Anxiety can be caused, in part, by worries about possible physical aftereffects of the surgery. Keep in mind that full recovery from open heart surgery can take up to one year. Patients who experience depression for more than several weeks after open-heart surgery may have something more than a typical, post-surgical mood change. One way to tell is if a person has difficulty in doing simple, daily tasks, like making their bed, getting and staying properly dressed, or keeping a routine. If an individual was instructed to do certain tasks after the surgery such as exercise, are they doing them? Has the person withdrawn...

Exercise and Improving Heart Health

Exercise isn’t just for achieving big muscles. Exercise impacts heart health in a very important and fundamental way. To keep your heart healthy, you can strengthen the heart muscle by doing exercises. Relatedly, exercises for your heart will help lower your blood pressure. Heart exercise is something that needs to become as regular, and as unconscious, as breathing. Best Exercises of the Heart Heart exercises can be tailored to individual situations and many factors are taken into consideration before picking the best one. These factors include medical history, lifestyle, abilities, and preferences. If you are in poor shape, the exercise program will take that into account. It may be that your first exercise routine is walking if that is your current limit. After time, it can proceed to jogging and maybe even running. Even more strenuous activities, like jumping rope or weightlifting, can be added. The optimal time to perform an exercise is 30 minutes per session at least five days a week. Exercise Impacts on Heart To complement the best exercise for your heart, stretching and warming up are good activities to adopt. They prepare your muscles for exercise and reduce injury and muscle strain. Generally, the best exercises for the heart are aerobic exercises. The larger muscle groups are used so your heart rate will be quickly elevated. Because of this, you need to consult with a physician about your target (or safe maximum) heart rate. One way to informally gauge whether or not your exercise routine is too strenuous is if you are able to hold a conversation while exercising. If not, you might want to...

Do You Have to Diet Before or After Heart Surgery?

Heart surgery is one of the most critical types of operations that can be done on the human body, and it is usually only pursued if other, less aggressive treatments have been exhausted. To provide the optimum conditions for a successful procedure, preoperative and postoperative guidelines must be observed. One of those guidelines pertains to the patient’s diet. What to Eat Leading up to Surgery? Simply put, one of the biggest problems complicating heart surgery is obesity. The more overweight a patient is, the more difficult the recovery will be. Diets designed to help prepare a person for heart surgery, then, are often focused on losing weight. Time is of the essence, and the more time before surgery the patient has to focus on this goal, the better. If the patient has at least two weeks before heart surgery, they might benefit from emphasizing fruits, vegetables, low-fat protein, whole grains, and low sodium in their diet to help lose weight and lower blood pressure as much as possible. The total number of calories per day, on average, to consume pre-heart surgery is fairly low, at 1,200 to 1,800. Diet recommendations include more servings of fruits and vegetables than whole grains, proteins, or healthy fats. Restrictions are suggested for sweets, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners. What to Eat After Surgery? As with the pre-surgery diet, what to eat after surgery often leads to a leaner, heart-healthy diet. Recommended is a diet with extra omega 3 fatty acids, folate, vitamin K, magnesium, and unsaturated fats. On the other hand, it is not recommended that saturated and trans fats, high sodium foods, processed...

Improving Your Heart Health in 2019

Improving your heart health in 2019 means seeking healthy habits for your heart, and taking steps to reduce high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Dr. Cuiffo is here to help you start 2019 out right. When you come in for your check-up, Dr. Ciuffo will assist you in discovering the healthy habits that will improve your heart health in 2019. Healthy Habits for your Heart Healthy habits for your heart begin with what you eat. Choosing more vegetables and whole grains, lean meats, and limiting your intake of fats, sugars, and sodium, is an excellent place to start. A healthy heart diet does not mean giving up favorites or flavors. It simply means making better choices and moderation. Indulge in more fresh fruits and vegetables, and load your plate with brightly colored, antioxidant-rich foods. Indulge in a fine filet of fish, baked with a flavorful dry rub or fried in heart-friendly olive oil, and plate it with brightly colored vegetables, following the meal with a dessert of fresh fruit. There are ways to enjoy your favorite comfort foods without overloading your diet with carbs, sodium, and heavy fats. Dr. Ciuffo will be happy to help you develop a diet plan that works for you. Other healthy habits for your heart include getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and developing a fitness program that fits into your lifestyle. Talk to Dr. Ciuffo about the changes you can make to your lifestyle to improve your heart health. High Blood Pressure High blood pressure is one of the most difficult challenges for your heart to overcome. When you lower your blood pressure, you...

Inoperable Heart Disease – Tips to Find a Solution

Inoperable Heart Disease-  Tips For Finding Solutions A diagnosis of inoperable heart disease can be discouraging. A heart condition may be difficult to live with. Minimally invasive bloodless heart surgery may offer options that may not be possible with traditional methods. The treatment options available are dependent upon a number of conditions, including both your own physical health and the scope of experience of the doctors dealing with your case. Inoperable Heart Disease Each patient’s case is decided individually. There are steps you’ll need to take when facing a diagnosis of inoperable heart disease. It’s important not to panic or lose hope. Even if your case isn’t a good candidate for surgical options, there are many treatments available that can extend and improve the quality of your life.  Ask questions. Request that the medical doctor in charge of your case and your surgeon explain exactly why your case is considered “inoperable.” Be sure to write down the details of their answers.  Obtain copies of all of your diagnostic records, including imaging- CAT scans, catheterizations, echocardiograms, EKG and other reports.  Gather copies of all the reports pertinent to your case, including blood test and other results. Heart Disease Heart disease is not a completely-understood condition. There are many aspects that doctors have to make their best educated and trained guesses about the potential outcomes of treatment options. While you’re gathering your records, reach out for a second opinion.  Seek a second opinion. Gather your information and bring it to the new doctor, so that they may evaluate your case fully and to avoid repeating expensive testing.  Ask your doctor to...

What is Vascular Surgery?

What is Vascular Surgery? What is vascular surgery? When we try to define vascular surgery, it’s important to remember that “vascular” means anything relating to the systems that carry the blood through the body. Therefore, the vascular surgeon definition relates to any medical professional that carries out surgery relating to the heart and blood vessels. A vascular surgeon is a highly-trained, highly specialized surgeon who has experience dealing with the vascular and related systems. What does a Vascular Surgeon Do? Vascular surgeons don’t just carry out surgery. They perform all sorts of procedures related to heart and vascular health, including prescribing medications and treatment plans that do not involve surgery. Often, cardio-vascular problems can be treated through medication, diet, and exercise. Surgery should be considered a last option, to be considered only if truly necessary. Your vascular surgeon will work with you to avoid the need for surgery if at all possible. What to Expect The exact procedure and preparation for vascular surgery will depend upon the type and location of surgery you’re scheduled to receive. You will be asked to refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking, or using certain prescription drugs. Be sure to talk to your doctor about any home remedies, over the counter medications, or other drugs you may be using. Recovery from Vascular Surgery Recovery may take only days or may take months, depending upon the type of surgery and the location. If you require a heart valve replacement, for example, recovery can take months. It’s important during recovery from vascular surgery to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. You may need to return slowly to normal...