Living with cardiovascular disease

The shock of a cardiovascular event or diagnosis can turn a life upside down. Even the most carefree of people can become panic-stricken over their own mortality, or depressed about changes they have to make, or both.

Whether you're headed into cardiovascular surgery or recovering from a heart attack, stroke or other major health crisis, we can help put you at ease and leverage the strength of your mind and your spirit to feel more confident, heal faster and make difficult but necessary lifestyle changes. We'll also work with your surgeon, cardiologist and/or primary care physician to develop and coach you through a nutrition and exercise plan that will help you rebuild your strength.

We help cardiac and vascular patients to:

  • Lose weight in advance of their procedure
  • Make an urgent lifestyle change, such as in diet, or ceasing use of tobacco, caffeine, alcohol or narcotics
  • Reduce anxiety levels and build mental strength for surgery
  • Provide for counseling or medical liaison services for family members
  • Follow a heart-healthy nutrition plan during and beyond recovery
  • Make sure the lifestyle changes they're making stick for the long-run
  • Have individual or couples counseling for post-operative sexual and/or relationship side effects
  • Relieve mild to moderate depression related to their disease or treatment

How we help patients with cardiovascular disease

Going into surgery, it's common for cardiovascular patients to feel very high levels of anxiety. We will teach you self-hypnosis and other relaxation techniques that will help you be rested and stronger throughout your treatment, and keep your blood pressure down in the long run. We can also consult with your cardiologist, primary care physician, and/or other healthcare professionals to determine if anti-anxiety medication is appropriate for you.

Recovering your quality of life after surgery or a major cardiovascular event requires integrated and coordinated physical, mental and emotional care. On the physical side, we will work with your cardiologist to customize plans for your nutrition and gradual return to physical activity in ways that accelerate your body's healing. If you'd like, we will help you organize your medications and help you manage their side effects.

During recovery, we'll help reinforce new behaviors and lifestyle changes that are critical to maintaining your long-term wellness. For those patients who have trouble "feeling like themselves again" after they've physically recovered, we will help you through traditional individual and/or peer group counseling. You may not feel exactly the same as you did before your health crisis, but you will feel a lot lighter, healthier and happier with where you ended up.