In general, cardiovascular disease should be monitored, taking the factors that contribute to the condition into account. Heart disease is usually accompanied by comorbidities such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, heart disease can also occur as an isolated condition. In both cases, it is important to keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels under control to reduce your risk of complications. Ensure that you take your medication as prescribed. Even if you feel fine, stick to your treatment plan and do not stop or change your medication dose without discussing it with your doctor first.
WAYS TO MONITOR HEART DISEASE
It is important to ensure any other condition in addition to your cardiovascular disease is well-managed and stable.
Monitor “new” symptoms - Always be on the lookout for new signs and symptoms such as palpitations (racing or pounding heartbeat), shortness of breath, dizziness or chest pain. These could be a sign that your heart is struggling, and you should address this as soon as possible. Contact your doctor if you start experiencing anything that worries you.
Blood Pressure - Whether you are hypertensive or not, monitoring your blood pressure is essential. Blood pressure contributes to cardiovascular disease as years of high blood pressure can stiffen and narrow blood vessels. These blood vessels can then easily block up, causing your heart to work harder. Regularly check your blood pressure – it is very important! Get familiar with the blood pressure values that you should aim for. It might vary slightly between individuals, so ask your doctor if you are unsure.
Blood sugar - Monitoring blood glucose is important because the connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease is strong. If you are diabetic, having your own blood sugar machine and constantly monitoring and assessing your glucose levels will be beneficial. If you have not been diagnosed with diabetes, it is still necessary to check your glucose levels at least every 6 months.
Physical limitations - Assess how much your condition is affecting your day-to-day life. If you find yourself unable to move around as easily or work at the same level as before, it could be that your heart disease is not well-managed. Speak to your doctor about your treatment plan.
Written by Dr Ruusa Shivute | Health Window
Reference: Bui AL, Fonarow GC. Home monitoring for heart failure management. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2012;59(2):97-104. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2011.09.044