One of the most difficult things in life is getting the diagnosis that you have a debilitating disease. In fact, every day thousands of people are told they have a heart related disease.
However, if you've been told you have heart disease, what you choose do with this information will make an enormous difference in how you live the rest of your life.
Here are seven tips to help you deal with the difficult diagnosis of heart disease:
1. Get informed
Knowledge is power — that's a fact! If you learn everything you can about your heart condition, you will be better prepared for the future.
Knowing about your heart condition will take away some of the fear, and you will be able to make the correct choices when it comes to your treatments. So, it's critical that you learn everything you can and become an active participant in your healthcare.
2. Follow the treatment plan
Your doctor will probably prescribe a treatment plan for you, including details on medications, diet and specific exercises. You should try to follow this treatment plan faithfully.
You may even be told to give up certain things, such as cigarettes or processed meats. Although some of this advice may be difficult to swallow, it's important to remember that your doctor is on your side when it comes to looking out for your health.
3. Find support in family and friends
Getting a tough diagnosis can produce a lot of feelings. You may experience sadness, anger or fear.
The best way to work your way through these feelings is to share them with someone who is close to you. Getting your feelings out into the open is a critical part of the healing. If you keep these feelings bottled up inside, it could be detrimental to your health and your recovery.
4. Notify your doctor of mood changes
Many people who suffer from a heart related illness will experience bouts of depression and anxiety. If you have feelings of sadness, or if you feel anxious, you need to let your doctor know.
This is not something to be ashamed of; getting help from your doctor and family is very important.
5. Take one day at a time
A lot of people become overwhelmed when they try to figure out what the future will bring. It is better to take one day at a time, and enjoy life as you go.
Spend time with your family and friends, enjoy your favorite hobbies, don't allow yourself to worry about where you will be five or ten years into the future.
6. Laugh often
Laughter has been studied and proven to be potent medicine, so this is possibly the most valuable piece of advice.
When you laugh your body releases endorphins, which promote a sense of well being. Laughter relieves stress and relaxes the entire body. Studies have also proven that laughter boosts the immune system and increases blood flow throughout the body. These are all wonderful benefits for your heart.
7. Help others
This may seem like a strange piece of advice, but remember no matter how miserable you think your life is, there will always be someone else out there who has it worse than you do.
When you reach out to others less fortunate, you will not only make their life a little easier, you will also be able to see how blessed you are.
Be encouraged by the fact that you can live a full and happy life with heart disease. It may be necessary to make a few adjustments, but with the right attitude and support from your family and friends, you can live a fulfilling life, no matter what your diagnosis may be.
Melanie Thomassian is a registered dietitian, and author of Dietriffic.com. Check out her website for more healthy eating tips.