Ongoing clinical care is imperative for the successful treatment of heart disease. Regular follow-up examinations and tests are strongly recommended, based on risk profile and medical history. Along with continuing monitoring and therapeutic measures, dietary- and lifestyle counseling may be needed to support the recovery process. Only your physician can evaluate your risk level as part of a thorough physical exam.
Ongoing Clinical Care and Monitoring Is Essential
For the Effective Treatment of Heart Disease
Most heart patients undergo some form of drug therapy. These are the most common medications used in drug-based treatments of heart disease:
Anticoagulants (blood thinners)
Anticoagulants are blood thinners, prescribed for the prevention of clotting. The best- known and most commonly used drug is aspirin. Taking a small daily dose of aspirin is often recommended as a preventive measure against heart attack, stroke or unstable angina. Aspirin can also help avert recurring attacks. Physicians may consider an ongoing aspirin therapy where the risk of serious damage to the heart is substantial, e.g. to prevent an impending attack. Possible side effects include stomach irritation, excessive bleeding and undesirable interactions between aspirin and other medications.
Coumadin has stronger blood thinning properties than aspirin. It may be prescribed in cases where the heart does not pump properly and blood is not moved efficiently enough. Coumadin may interact unfavorably with dietary vitamin K, and patients should discuss potential problems with their physician before taking this drug.
Nitroglycerin is commonly utilized for the treatment of angina pectoris, which is typically experienced as chest pain and discomfort in the area around the heart. Nitroglycerin works in two ways: First, it causes the coronary arteries to widen, thus increasing the flow of blood to the heart. Second, it helps relaxing the veins when they return blood to the heart. Nitroglycerin is designed to intervene with the imminent risk of a heart attack. This drug is mostly prescribed in form of capsules or tablets and must be taken sublingually – that is under the tongue. Other versions come as patches to be worn on the skin.
Certain vitamin supplements may be prescribed for heart disease treatment, because of their antioxidant properties. Vitamin C and E in particular are good sources of antioxidants. Vitamin B3, niacin and nicotinic acids have the ability to relax and dilate blood vessels and ease blood flow to the heart. The use of vitamin supplements in the course of heart disease therapy must be carefully monitored. Overdosing of some vitamins can lead to serious side effects and complications.
Lipid lowering medications
There are a number of drugs specifically designed to lower cholesterol and triglycerides levels. Here is a short list of the most commonly applied types of these medications.
Statins help to control the rate of cholesterol production in the liver.
Bile Acid Resins can bind cholesterol-carrying bile acids in the intestines and eliminate them through the digestive system.
Fibrates are designed to lower triglycerides.
ACE Inhibitors can help prevent constriction of the arteries.
Calcium Channel Blockers help reduce the oxygen demand of the heart muscle and dilate coronary arteries to increase oxygen supply to the heart.
Beta Blockers reduce the heart rate and lessen the oxygen demand of the heart muscle.
Diuretics increase the output of urine and reduce fluid retention as well as blood pressure.