Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate: Dr. Cynthia Speaks!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman
2 min readFeb 19, 2024

Topic: Caring for a Loved One with Heart Problems

Photo by Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

The Heart Health Month theme continues with caring for a loved one with heart conditions. It can be challenging and requires a long-term commitment of time and energy. The heart is the organ that must ‘keep on ticking’ for us to live. When the heart is diseased, it complicates the body’s ability to operate efficiently. Some heart conditions are congenial(since birth), while others develop over time. When this happens, the caregiver’s knowledge should expand to address nutrition, medications, activities, rest, and sleep. Healthcare practitioners must be kept abreast of noted changes because lingering heart symptoms are deadly. So many heart conditions can impact care, too many to name. However, the ones that require awareness are arrhythmias (irregular rhythms), cardiomyopathy(enlarged heart), heart valve problems, high blood pressure(high blood pressure in Black people in the U.S. is among the highest in the world), heart failure, and loved ones with coronary artery disease, who had heart attacks (also known as a myocardial infarction).

Where Do We Start To Manage This Overwhelming Reality?

It starts with following the orders of the healthcare team. Prescribed medications must be taken as prescribed daily at the times ordered. If diet restrictions(low salt, low fat, low calorie) are in place, please follow them. Some heart conditions have diet and fluid limits in place to prevent hospitalizations. Heart disease management sometimes requires devices like pacemakers, revascularization procedures, defibrillators, and evaluation tools like Holter monitoring to evaluate abnormal rhythms. Even in aging, lifestyle changes will always matter. If your loved one has other health conditions, extra vigilance is required.

As Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate, I know being a caregiver is hard work. You can’t take good care of your loved one without first caring for yourself. Guard your physical and mental health. Be safe! Be well!

Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman is a retired registered nurse and case manager, CEO of Your Proactive Caregiver Advocate and author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor, and The Black Book of Important Information for Caregivers.

Website: www.cynthiajhickman.com

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Dr. Cynthia J. Hickman

Dr. Hickman is the author of From the Lens of Daughter, Nurse, and Caregiver: A Journey of Duty and Honor and The Black Book of Important for Caregivers.