How to Have a Heart-to-Heart about Health
Understanding the risk factors, signs and symptoms of heart disease can have a big impact on the likelihood of a positive outcome and a strong recovery when issues arise. Besides recognizing these in yourself, it’s also important to be able to recognize them in your loved ones and be able to comfortably discuss them. By detecting potential heart problems early, we’re more likely to be able to help keep them from progressing into serious conditions. But having the conversation can be challenging. Here are a few tips to consider, if someone close to you is at risk:
Know the symptoms. According to the American Heart Association, most cardiac arrests that happen outside of the hospital occur at home, which means a spouse or child is likely to be the first to respond. Knowing the signs and symptoms will help you recognize a problem and act quickly and appropriately, including calling 9-1-1 for emergency help.
Share your concerns. The key to voicing your concerns about a loved one’s health is to do so in a caring and compassionate manner. Rather than coming across as “nagging,” let the person know that you care deeply about him or her and are genuinely concerned. Share any signs or symptoms you’ve noticed and offer to accompany the person to the doctor as a support system.
Encourage routine check-ups. Routine visits to a primary care provider are important in establishing a baseline for health and identifying potential health problems before they become serious. These should be done regardless of whether specific concerns or symptoms are present. You may consider scheduling your routine visits with your loved one together to serve as a support system for each other.