Caring for your heart

Your Heart

As you get older your heart may have more difficulty pumping blood around your body. This type of heart problem may be a result of:

  • The heart muscle weakening with age;
  • A previous heart attack;
  • Cigarette smoking;
  • Being overweight;
  • Not enough exercise;
  • Too much alcohol.
  • Other medical problems:
    • High blood pressure;
    • Diabetes;
    • Increased cholesterol levels.

Heart problems can cause fluid retention, breathlessness (especially at night) and difficulty in doing mild forms of exercise (such as walking short distances).

Medicines and your heart

Many people take medicines to help care for their heart.

The medicines may be to:

  • Reduce blood pressure;
  • Reduce fluid;
  • Reduce cholesterol levels;
  • Control the heart beat;
  • Stop blood clots blocking blood vessels.

Some people take several different medicines to care for their heart.

Medicines can help relieve and prevent heart problems. With these treatments and some other simple steps such as reducing salt intake, people with heart problems can live longer and more comfortably.

Combinations of heart medicines are usually needed

New medical research shows that a combination of heart medicines helps some people with specific heart problems live longer.

Some medicines can worsen your heart trouble and may need to be stopped.

If you are taking a combination of medicines for your heart, consider speaking to your doctor. It is possible that you could benefit by working with your doctor and pharmacist to take the next step in caring for your heart.

Speak to your doctor about how you can best care for your heart.

What should I do?

In caring for your heart, and getting the best from your medicines, it is important that you:

  • Understand what each medicine is for.
  • Know how to take it properly.
  • Keep taking it regularly and don’t stop without first discussing it with your doctor.
  • Recognise any unwanted effects and know what to do if they occur.
  • Ask for a CMI (Consumer Medicine Information) leaflet for each of your medicines from your pharmacist or doctor.
  • Tell your doctor about all the medicines you are taking, including medicines purchased from health food shops, supermarkets and pharmacies.
Speak to your doctor about how you can best care for your heart.
Ask your doctor and your pharmacist for more information.

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