7 Self-Care Interventions for People With Cardiovascular Disease

  • By Kate Macmorn
  • 30 March 2023
  • 7 minute read
7 Self-Care Interventions for People With Cardiovascular Disease | The Health Sessions

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common incurable diseases in today’s nation, making people reevaluate their health and wellness plans as they live with their new bodily symptoms from the condition. However, integrating self-care intervention tactics can revitalize your body through its new journey. 

If you really want to learn about heart health and peoples’ heart rhythms, consider earning your ACLS, BLS, or PALS certificates. You can save a life with your valuable knowledge.

What is cardiovascular disease?

Cardiovascular disease is the scientific term representing heart disease. It is the highest cause of death and overall disease in America with more than a million people on Medicare being admitted into hospitals nationwide every year for the condition. 

Symptoms of cardiovascular disease include:

  • Tiredness. 
  • Feeling short of breath whether you are doing a rigorous activity or relaxed at rest. 
  • Short of breath when trying to sleep or as you wake up in the morning or from a nap. 
  • Swelling in your ankles, legs, feet, or a combination thereof.  
  • Heart palpitations. 
  • Pain in your chest of any kind. 
7 Self-Care Interventions for People with Cardiovascular Disease | The Health Sessions
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7 Self-Care Interventions for People with Cardiovascular Disease

While there is no cure for cardiovascular disease once you have contracted it, there are self-care interventions that you can do to stave off the negative effects that it has on your body. Implementing these self-care tips will not only make you feel better even through your cardiovascular disease journey but give you a new perspective on how this improved health and wellness enhancement can benefit your life. 

1. Maintaining a balanced diet

Learning to maintain a balanced diet by following the MyPlate principles will strengthen your heart. Rather than eating foods high in fat that slow down your heart, you can eat leafy greens, delicious fruits, and balanced protein meals to keep your heart rhythms healthy and normal.

MyPlate recommends that at least half of your plate contains a combination of vegetables and fruits. Choosing whole rather than processed fruits will give you more nutritional value while having a variety of vegetables will enhance nutrient density, too. 

You should consume at least 50% whole grains out of all your grain servings per day. Lower-fat dairy selections such as milk, cheese, and yogurt will benefit your heart. 

Integrate balanced protein in as many of your meals as possible. Have peanut butter on toast for breakfast, a couple of hard-boiled eggs on top of your salad for lunch, and a half cup of cooked beans of your choice as a side with your dinner’s main course.    

2. Getting regular sleep every night

Getting regular sleep every night is one of the most important self-care interventions for normalizing your heart rhythms. Adults need at least seven to nine hours of sleep to function during the day while children require about eight to 12 hours or more depending on their age. 

Failing to get enough sleep can cause irritability, memory issues, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. During a five-year study that evaluated adult participants’ sleeping patterns, those who slept irregularly had double the chance of contracting cardiovascular disease. Those who maintained the same sleep patterns had a much lower risk of developing the said disease. 

3. Integrating an exercise routine 

Make it a point to integrate an exercise routine into your daily life as a self-care measure to reduce the overall side effects that cardiovascular disease influences on your body. You can try some of these exercise routine ideas to get started:

  • Take a walk around your neighborhood.
  • Walk briskly on the treadmill. 
  • Do weight training at your local gym. 
  • Perform a guided light yoga routine, chair yoga, or make up your own. 
  • If you have children, host a dance party for an hour or so on a Friday night. 

The possibilities are endless with the ways to get up and move daily. You do not have to take the same walk around your neighborhood or constantly go on your treadmill all week long. Vary up your workout routine to make it interesting and more fun. 

7 Self-Care Interventions for People With Cardiovascular Disease | The Health Sessions
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4. Get relaxing

With daily responsibilities, whether you work a (part-time) job, are a parent, or attend school to extend your education, it can have a toll on your mental health if you do not take a little bit of time to relax during the day. Find a time during each day to set aside at least one to two hours to relax in the way you want. 

Get a warm bath with your favorite bubbles and body wash at the end of the day. Do your favorite facial routine. Put your favorite show on television and eat your favorite snack. Have fun with your favorite hobby. 

No matter how you love to relax, do it! Staying calm and collected while doing your favorite activities keeps your heart rate low and feeling less stressed so that you have better days. 

5. Keep a gratitude journal

Sometimes when we are feeling overwhelmed, we may feel that the world is against us and that we have nothing at all to show for our hard work. During these pressuring times, write in a gratitude journal. Keep everything that you write positively. 

While you may have not gotten the job you wanted, write in your gratitude journal that you are thankful for having the ability to work for your family to earn a living. Even if you did not finish everything on your to-do list for the day, exhibit gratitude for what you did get done with the hopes of finishing more tomorrow. 

Practicing gratitude can keep your heart rate and stress levels low. Focusing on the positivity in your life can help you to reframe what is stressing you out in a less negative light. 

6. Meditate for 10-minute intervals

Meditation and mindfulness can calm your body and keep you in tune with your feelings. Sit in a comfortable position of your choice, close your eyes, and slowly breathe and breathe out for at least 10 minutes. 

If you need another meditation session as more stress creeps up on you, do so! Meditating clears your mind and enhances mental stability despite the chaos around you. If you can achieve inner peace, then you can handle any challenging mountain in front of you. 

7. Make goals

Making short-term and long-term goals can help to reduce stress levels as you can set what is called S.M.A.R.T. goals. Create each of your goals to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. 

A broader goal can be more stressful as it does not actively specify the angle at which you want to have it achieved. Set a time frame in which you want to complete the goal. Give yourself a reasonable amount of time without short-changing yourself. 

The goal should be achievable with enough steps taken and time elapsed. Does the goal connect to what you want out of life? Make it something that can enhance your life going forward. 

7 Self-Care Interventions for People With Cardiovascular Disease | The Health Sessions
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Frequently Asked Questions

Now that you know the basics about cardiovascular disease and some self-care intervention tips, here are some answers to your frequently asked questions to learn more about these topics. 

Does obesity cause cardiovascular disease?

People who weigh more have a heavier weight on their hearts, which means these muscles have to work harder to pump more blood throughout their bodies. Hence, obese individuals with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher have an increased chance of contracting cardiovascular disease. 

What are the best self-care interventions for people with cardiovascular disease?

Healthy eating, getting enough exercise, and sleeping regularly each night are the three best self-care interventions for those with cardiovascular disease. Eating a balanced diet and getting enough sleep and exercise are the basis of a great health profile. The other self-care intervention tips greatly support these three pivotal foundations. 

Why is self-care so important?

Practicing self-care involves the measures you take to stay healthy daily. They are not just actions you take every day; it is also positive habit and state of mind. Without self-care, you cannot be at your best. 

They say to help others that you must do it for yourself first. Take care of yourself so you are at your best for your family, friends, and job. 

What exercises improve cardiovascular endurance?

As you get more exercise and your fitness level increases, there are many other ways that you can improve your cardiovascular endurance such as:

  • Jogging or running.
  • Jump roping.  
  • Brisk walking. 
  • Biking. 
7 Self-Care Interventions for People With Cardiovascular Disease | The Health Sessions
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Conclusion

How did you find out that you were diagnosed with cardiovascular disease? What self-care interventions do you practice daily to keep your heart rhythms on track? Let us know your story in the comments to inspire other readers. 

Just because you have contracted cardiovascular disease does not mean it is the end of the world. You can reform your lifestyle to direct it on a healthier path. 

Author bio: Kate Macmorn is the communications director for the American Medical Resource Institute, where they’ve trained over a million healthcare professionals to study for, earn and maintain life support certifications that allow them to better respond to cardiac emergencies. When not in the office, you can find Kate practicing her tennis skills. She also frequents live music venues and is always looking for her next creative hobby.

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