The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology periodically change their guidelines for treating heart issues like heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. The latest was released this past July 2023. These guidelines assist physicians and make recommendations for diagnosing, treating, and managing the 20 million Americans with chronic coronary disease, or CCD. These are the first changes in more than a decade, so anyone with chronic heart disease should pay attention. New heart disease treatment guidelines: what to know.
Practical Guidance and Care Coordination
These new focus points are practical recommendations for New Jersey Cardiology Associates and even your primary physician. Part of the focus is to include all members of a chronic coronary disease (CCD) patient’s care team. Management and coordination among all clinicians includes physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, nurses and their assistants, pharmacists, dietitians, physical, occupational, and speech therapists, psychologists, and social workers. This coordination of care is meant to increase health benefits for CCD patients.
In short, the emphasis is on team-based patient-centered care.
Key Points in the New Heart Disease Treatment Guidelines
Chronic coronary disease is defined as an umbrella term for those patients who have long-term vascular and heart conditions where there is inadequate blood flow to and from the heart.
It includes people with:
- Chronic heart-related chest pain
- People who have had a heart attack
- People who had a stent or bypass surgery
- Those who have reduced blood flow based on diagnostic testing
Lifestyle and Diet is the Foundation
The guidelines reinforced that a healthy lifestyle and healthy dietary habits remain the foundation for managing CCD patients and is the best way to prevent the disease from getting worse.
Research confirms there is a 10% reduction in death when patients increase their daily step count by 1,000.
Reducing Risk, Symptom Relief, and Improving Quality of Life
The top priority in a patient’s therapy should be to reduce the patient’s risk of any future cardiovascular events. This is in conjunction with providing symptom relief and improved quality of life.
Value in Healthy Lifestyle
The guidelines affirm that there is value in a healthy lifestyle including regular physical exercise and not smoking. They recommend behavioral intervention to stop smoking in combination with nicotine replacement therapy. E-cigarettes may be used short term, but they are not recommended due to long-term risks and dependence.
No supplements are recommended including Omega- 3 fatty acids, Vitamins C, D, or E, beta carotene, or calcium. There is no statistical proof they are beneficial.
Glucose Lowering Medicines
Glucose lowering medicines normally prescribed to lower blood sugar in Type 2 diabetes have potential cardiovascular benefits. They help with weight loss, reduce the progression of kidney disease, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events even if the patient does not have diabetes.
Seeing Your Doctor Regularly
They emphasize that CCD patients should have regular conversations with their cardiologist and care team about their progress, lifestyle, and physical activity. It is also recommended that physicians conduct a comprehensive risk assessment and review with patients annually or more frequently.
Contact New Jersey Cardiology Associates if you would like to discuss any part of the new heart disease treatment guidelines including the focus on symptom relief, healthy habits, and quality of life. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation in West Orange, Belleville, Toms River, or Clifton. You can alternatively request an appointment online.