Life With Heart Disease 102 – How to Deal With Heart Conditions In The Family
One in four people live with a heart condition in the US or has a family member who has it. In the close dynamics of a family, this condition can put a lot of stress on everyone.
Knowing how to help your family member can play a crucial role in allowing you to manage it properly. The following are a few ways that you can deal with heart conditions in the family:
Understand the Illness
Always do your research and do not make any assumptions. There are a lot of misconceptions about heart diseases which make it important to know the truth. You can ask doctors about any questions or concerns or attend seminars about heart conditions or even do some online research. Remember, if you don’t understand anything, always ask.
Identify Risk Factors
Learn what risk factors are affecting your family members and note them down. This is an important step since factors that impact your direct family can also place you at risk too. Heart disease is preventable but you’re only able to do so by knowing what the risk factors and working to reduce them.
Actively Help with Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes can help to not only control heart conditions but also reduce them too. Heart disease can be kept at bay with lifestyle changes. Encourage not only your family member but others too, to start exercising, eating healthier and letting go of bad habits that can increase their risk of worsening their heart condition or causing a stroke. It’s difficult for one person to change but if you make it a group effort, you will see more results.
Show Caring without Smothering
It’s difficult not to treat your family with a heart condition as a person made of glass. However, just because they have a heart condition does not mean that their quality of life has to be controlled. Encourage them to be active, socialize more and have a happy and healthy life. While you do have to give care and control certain things, do not end up smothering them completely.
Provide Emotional Support
Heart conditions are life changing. A person can have a heart attack or a stroke and require highly invasive surgery. Going to doctor’s visits, taking medication and making big lifestyle changes can make one prone to depression. Be a listening ear and give them emotional support. This can be a very rough period of their life and they need help. If you’re unable to provide it, make sure that they have an emotional support group that they are able to rely on.
Make Time for Yourself
It can be very stressful to have a family member who has a heart condition. While they do need a lot more care, remember to take some time out for yourself. If you are experiencing fatigue or burn out, take a break. It’s okay to do so since you can’t help them if you aren’t in a position to help. Rely on others, build a support group and delegate tasks to others. You don’t have to deal with everything on your own.
You and your family members can still lead a happy, healthy and fulfilling life, even when dealing with heart conditions.