Helping a Loved One with Heart Health

Physical therapist watches patient use leg machine.Many patients who suffer a cardiac event ignored the early warning signs, putting day-to-day needs or a fear of medical intervention ahead of their health.

Friends and relatives can play an important part in helping loved ones take the first step toward improved health.

Cardiologist Hank Wu, MD, says a support system can make all the difference in successfully changing eating and exercise habits or providing that little push to seek a physician’s help.

“Clearly, many people feel social isolation. For example, they might be trying to kick the smoking habit but have a spouse who smokes, which is a tremendous barrier,” explains Wu. He adds that family and friends can help by reminding individuals about life goals and the difference they make in the lives of others.

Wu says being vested in the process of helping a family member or friend is critical. That can involve taking part in healthy activities with them. Going on long walks after work or cooking healthy meals together are just a couple of examples.

Wu adds that he has found that many patients at The Center for Cardiac Fitness find inspiration and support from each other.

“They become the social support they needed to make a difference. Many times people share the same schedule, so they get to know each other, encourage each other and talk about the same obstacles,” Wu explains.

Learn more about the Center for Cardiac Fitness »