Experts point out that the main measure patients with heart failure should introduce into their day-to-day life is a chance to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Among the general measures, they recommend:
- Remove the salt shaker from the table.
- Cook with a little salt.
- Avoid canned and precooked foods, and replace them with fresh foods.
- Do not consume salty snacks (olives, chips, hot dogs, almonds and other nuts).
- Avoid foods with a high sodium content (salted meats, Serrano ham and sausages).
- Reduce the consumption of sodium bicarbonate and effervescent tablets in general.
- Control the sodium content of mineral water, especially those with gas.
- Make several meals a day and light, not few and copious.
Regarding sports, patients with heart failure in a stable situation should do regular physical exercises, such as walking briskly for half an hour a day, in the case of very old people, and one hour a day for the youngest.
Other advisable sports are swimming, light gymnastics and cycling, as long as overexertion is avoided. Exercise should always be adapted to the patient’s circumstances, and rough and violent sports should be avoided. In addition, patients must never exercise after main meals or in extreme hot or cold conditions.
The first intervention with a depressive post-infarction patient should be to help them adapt to the disease. This task begins with changing lifestyle habits: “Behaviour modification techniques help reduce risk factors and make it easier for the patient to change diet, exercise or stop smoking. Another component is the psychological adaptation to the new situation, in which group sessions can be held to reduce adverse emotional reactions and where the patient shares his experience with other people who have gone through what same”.
There are patients who, after a heart attack, are approached with a large number of irrational concerns, such as “I will not be able to work again”, “I will never play sports again”, “If I die, what will happen to my children?”. These thoughts “are irrational fears. To combat them, you must try to make the infarcted person see it. Offering clear information improves adaptation and reduces uncertainty.”
Participation in rehabilitation programs improves not only the physical facet but also the psychic one: “Is Not only the information they receive usefully but also the opportunity that the patient has to check their physical condition in a controlled environment and gain confidence. In short, take back control of your health.
The patient who knows the disease he suffers from and the aspects of his behaviour that must change more quickly recover the security that he can control his state of health, which is very important to improve psychological adaptation.
The patient’s family must also be considered when designing therapy: “The patient is not alone. Therefore, those around them must know what has happened and participate in the recovery.
Good social support acts as a protective element. It has been proven that ” patients with little or no support from their environment multiply their risk “; That is why the family must receive information: “The relatives of the infarcted suffer a critical situation as well. The patient can be very well informed, but if the family is irrational, it can be a source of interference in the therapy.”
A pernicious example of how relatives can intervene in recovery is the attitude of the overprotective family: “It is a form of pathogenic relationship for both the patient and the relative.”
Cardiologists must be aware of the patient’s psychological state since “the psychological well-being of a person after the infarction must always be objective and, therefore, clinical attention must be paid to it.”
Indicators of emotional disorder
Changes in character and mood
- The patient feels sad, moody, insecure, doubtful, etc.
- Impatience sense of urgency in acquiring information regarding their illness.
- He perceives his immediate environment (family, work, doctors, etc.) as opposed to his interests, which threatens his self-esteem and perception of control of the situation. The patient is irritable and gets involved in cases of stress and personal risk (making inadvisable efforts or neglecting their health).
- Feelings of guilt and helplessness: “I shouldn’t have drunk so much”, “I knew I was going to stop smoking”, and “I should have gone to the doctor much earlier”.
Change in bodily functions
- You sleep less and more irregularly than before.
- Eat much more or much less than before.
- Complaints more frequently than before about specific pains or physical problems.
- You feel more tired than before.
- Change in cognitive functions
- Concentration problems in routine tasks such as reading.
- He forgets things more than before.