How To Provide Support For Someone With Heart Problems

heart problems

If your partner, family member, or friend has a heart problem, your support is invaluable. It can keep them optimistic, boost their mood on difficult days, and help them lead the highest quality of life possible. Here at Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery with Dr. Ciuffo, we’ll share several tips that will allow you to provide the best support for someone with heart problems. 

Educate Yourself

Heart conditions can be complex and difficult to understand, especially if you’re not in the healthcare field or unfamiliar with them. As the support person of an individual with a heart problem, it’s up to you to learn as much as you can. Do your research and consult with medical professionals so you understand what is going on and what needs to be done to manage your friend or family member’s health.

Listen and Advocate

Simply listening can show your friend or family member you genuinely care about them and their condition. While it may be tempting to offer some advice based on what you read and know, it’s important to hear their thoughts and concerns. 

Also, if you attend doctor’s appointments, listen carefully to what is said by their healthcare team and bring up any concerns your loved one may forget to mention on their own. Don’t forget to discuss any problems you believe require more attention or have yet to be addressed. 

Make Lifestyle Changes

It’s not uncommon for those with heart conditions to modify their lifestyles. Depending on their situation, they may switch to a Mediterranean diet with plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. They’ll likely refrain from processed foods, baked goods, and saturated foods, which can hinder their condition. 

In addition to dietary changes, someone with heart problems may incorporate exercise into their daily life. Exercise can be as simple as walks around the neighborhood or yoga classes at a local gym or community centers. If you live with the individual, commit to making these lifestyle changes with them. Show them that you’re in it together and here to support their healthier habits. 

Monitor Symptoms

You can also help your loved one monitor and manage the various symptoms associated with heart problems, such as shortness of breath, fatigue, edema or leg swelling, or feelings of lightheadedness or dizziness. To monitor their symptoms, make it a point to ask them how they’re feeling regularly and take their feedback seriously. You may also want to weigh them on a scale and check their blood pressure. It’s a good idea to consult a healthcare provider about the different tools you can use to measure your friend or family member’s heart rate and blood pressure remotely. 

Join a Support Group

Fortunately, there are a number of virtual and in-person support groups for individuals with heart problems and their families. They can allow you to connect with others who are going through the same challenges. A support group may also open the doors to meaningful advice and resources that you may not have access to otherwise. When your loved one realizes there are many other people who are in the same boat as them, they may feel better mentally and emotionally. 

Take Care of Yourself

As you focus on supporting your friend or family member with their heart condition, it’s all too easy to neglect your own health. Don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and enjoy life to ensure you’re in the best physical and mental state for your loved one. 

Living with heart problems can be a true challenge. However, with your unwavering support, your friend or family member may still lead a happy, fulfilling life for years to come. For more questions about heart problems, visit our website to make an appointment, or call our office at (702) 333-7200 to speak with a team member. For additional information about our practice, please visit Nevada Heart and Vascular or University Medical Center.

A picture of Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD wearing his Mercy One doctor attire.

About the Author

Giovanni B. Ciuffo, MD Director is an expert in Minimally Invasive Heart Surgery and Bloodless Heart Surgery is the outcome of his commitment to the development and improvement of both of these techniques. He runs a Cardiothoracic Surgery practice and manages Minimally Invasive and Bloodless Heart Surgery Program where he cares for patients from all over the country and locally. Click here to learn more about Dr. Ciuffo.

Board Certified:
American Board of Surgery
American Board of Thoracic Surgery