Can you reverse heart conditions?
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, with one person dying from a cardiovascular condition every 36 seconds. These statistics can be overwhelming, and you may be asking yourself what to do if you receive a diagnosis. The good news is that most heart diseases, conditions, and disorders can be reversed. Here are some examples:
- Heart failure
- Atherosclerosis (artery disease)
Read on to see how these common heart conditions can be reversed.
Five common reversible heart conditions
Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, is often caused by an unhealthy lifestyle or other conditions like diabetes. Fortunately, you can lower blood pressure by exercising regularly, avoiding smoking, managing chronic conditions, and sticking to a low-sodium diet.
Many people assume that heart failure happens when the heart stops beating. In reality, it occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood throughout the body. Heart failure sometimes has the potential to be reversed in many ways, depending on the severity of your condition. Treatment ranges from medication and lifestyle changes to surgery, implantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), and heart transplant.
Irregular heartbeat speeds and patterns can be caused by current or previous heart attacks, blocked arteries, hypertension, and more. If your doctor diagnoses you with a heart arrhythmia, they may choose to address it in a variety of ways, including medications and different therapies that can reverse the irregular heartbeat, like the convergent procedure.
High cholesterol, also called hyperlipidemia, is caused by an excess of fats in your blood. Reversing hyperlipidemia is relatively straightforward if you know how to lower cholesterol. Similar to reversing hypertension, lifestyle changes such as increasing exercise and eating a heart-healthy diet are key to lowering your cholesterol levels.
Atherosclerosis (artery disease)
Atherosclerosis is a heart condition caused by a buildup of plaque on artery walls that narrows the artery and restricts blood flow. This plaque is typically caused by fatty deposits made up of cholesterol and other cellular products. Cholesterol medication is the most common treatment used to reverse atherosclerosis, and doctors will often prescribe patients additional treatments like blood thinners or blood pressure medications.
Heart disease doesn't have to take over your life. Talk to your Baylor St. Luke's Medical Group primary care physician if you have risk factors for any conditions mentioned above. If you have a cardiovascular condition that needs treatment, schedule a visit with a St. Luke’s Health cardiovascular specialist today.