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Controlling Your Risk Factors After Bypass Surgery

Managing coronary artery disease

After surgery, the blood flow to your heart is better, but new blockages can still form. You need to take steps to prevent this. By committing yourself to managing your risk factors for coronary artery disease, commonly called heart disease, you can help keep new blockages from forming. This will lower your changes of needing another bypass surgery.

Controlling risk factors

To manage heart disease, you must control as many risk factors as you can. Work with your health care provider to identify your risk factors and to get them under control.

Quitting smoking

Smoking damages the lining of the blood vessels and raises blood pressure. If you smoke, quitting now could save your life.

Here are some tips:

  • Talk to your doctor about medications or other products that may help. These include nicotine patches or gum.

  • Make a list of things that make you want to smoke. Plan how you can avoid or deal with these triggers.

  • Keep trying! Many people need to try a few times before they quit for good.

Managing related problems

The problems listed here can affect heart disease. Managing these problems is very important.

  • High blood pressure. Follow any dietary restrictions and exercise guidelines you’re given. Be sure to take your prescribed medications. You also may need to monitor your blood pressure at home.

  • Cholesterol. Follow your prescribed diet. Take your medications as directed. Also, have your cholesterol and other lipids (blood fats) tested as often as your doctor says to.

  • Diabetes. Work with your dietitian or diabetes educator to keep your blood sugar under control. This helps control other risk factors, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

  • Stress. Too much stress may contribute to heart disease. Learn ways to relax to help manage stress. For instance, practice deep breathing or meditation.

Online Medical Reviewer: Louise Akin, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Daphne Pierce-Smith, RN, MSN, FNP, CCRC
Last Review Date: 9/10/2013
© 2000-2014 Krames StayWell, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.