Heart Disease: the Basics

“Approximately 60% to 90% of patients with chronic heart failure acknowledge sexual dysfunction” (NIH).

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in males in the United States causing nearly one in every four deaths (CDC, 2019). The term “heart disease” references numerous types of heart conditions with the most common being coronary artery disease, or CAD, which has the potential to lead to a heart attack. Heart disease is often “silent” until specific signs or symptoms suddenly emerge. These major symptoms and signs are:

  • Arrhythmia: fluttering feelings in the chest, like palpitations.
  • Heart attack: chest pain or discomfort, upper back and neck pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea or vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, dizziness, and shortness of breath.
  • Heart Failure: shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen, or neck veins.

While these are major issues, you can greatly reduce your risk for heart disease through lifestyle changes, dietary changes, and medications. Cardiac rehabilitation is designed for this task- to revamp your lifestyle to keep you as healthy as possible. This important and vital program is for anyone who is recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or any other type of heart surgery. This supervised program includes:

  • Physical activity
  • Education about healthy living including diet, medications, following treatment plans, and also offer methods for those patients who smoke to learn how to stop smoking as fast as possible.
  • Counseling to find better ways to relieve stress and improve overall mental health.

You will meet a team of people while you are in cardiac rehab who will help you through each phase. This team might include your cardiac doctors, nurses, and staff, plus an exercise and nutrition specialist, physical therapists, counselors, mental health professionals, and more.

Resources Used:

Reclaiming Intimacy




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