Dear Michael: I was recently diagnosed with heart disease, so I’m really reflecting on my health choices. I know I need to stop smoking, but it’s really hard and I need some advice. Besides quitting, what else should I do to effectively manage this new condition? — Heart Matters
Dear Heart Matters: Heart disease is a number of different conditions affecting the heart, which can be managed through a mix of medications and lifestyle changes. Early detection and management of high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol can help you reduce your risk.
As you already know, quitting smoking is really important. Realizing you need to change your smoking habit is the first step, so that’s a great place to start! When my patients come to me to help them quit smoking, we discuss several approaches, such as one-on-one counselling sessions, nicotine replacement therapy and prescription medication therapy. Your local Guardian® or I.D.A.® pharmacist will be able to walk you through everything.
Regardless of your smoking habits, it’s important to make sure you get enough exercise, such as walking 30 minutes each day. Diet changes are also key—you can start by lowering your salt intake and talking to your pharmacist about how you can keep your cholesterol in check.
On the medication front, be sure to take your medications as prescribed. They can make you feel better, help your heart work better and ultimately help you live a healthier life. To ensure your treatment is as effective as possible, make your medication routine simple: synchronize your prescription renewals and don’t hesitate to ask your pharmacist for a pill organizer or dispenser.
Remember: If you have concerns about the side effects from one of your medications, be sure to raise them with your pharmacist. If they decide it’s necessary to adjust your treatment, they’ll contact your doctor. Never adjust or stop your treatment without discussing it with your pharmacist or physician. We’re here for you.
Get a dose of our pharmacists’ advice at guardian-ida-pharmacies.ca.