A Well-Balanced Healthcare Team
When it comes to treating heart failure, think of your medical team like a well-balanced diet. You could live a decent life eating the same food every meal every day. It may not be ideal, but you will survive.
This is the same with your medical team. You could just have one doctor that takes care of you, and you will probably do fine, but you could also be missing something important that could make you better. I have come up with what I consider a near-ideal combination of medical professionals to keep you in optimum health. Of course, depending on your condition, this can vary, but for the average heart failure patient, I feel this is a great combination.
The cardiologist is obviously the staple of this medical team combination. You have to have a doctor that specializes in the heart and can run the specific tests and procedures you may need now or further down the road. They will also help set up your medication regimen tailored to your needs.
Yes, other physicians can do medications, but I expect a cardiologist to keep up with the latest research on heart conditions. This makes them ideal over other physicians when it comes to setting your medication regimen. Moving past medication, there is no other physician that will perform the necessary tests and procedures for you as well as they can. You need to have a cardiologist on your team.
A primary care physician, nurse practitioner, or general practitioner is the next part of your team. These people will more than likely keep up with your lab work and since they handle your average health issues and physicals and will be good at keeping your body in good condition to keep your heart failure stable. My doctor will also tweak my medications based on lab work which I run by my cardiologist, and have yet to have a disagreement on them.
Sometimes you only see your cardiologist once a year, and as a person with a chronic condition, you need to be seen more than that. Even if you feel good, get checked out and discuss any issues you have with your doctor on a more regular basis. Keeping your whole body healthy, and not just focusing on your heart, is essential.
The final person I would put as part of my team is a masseuse. You may not consider them to be a medical professional, but there are many benefits to getting regular massages. Not only are there potential medical benefits, they feel great. Many of us, including myself, believe that being happy is an important part of being healthy, and who doesn’t feel better after a nice, relaxing massage?
They can be a bit pricey, but you don’t have to do it every day. You can do it once a month as a special treat. It gives you something to look forward to and keeps you in good spirits. Just make sure you talk to the masseuse to make sure you are getting the right massage for what you need. There are a lot of options that will make your mind and body feel better. Trust me, for the price of a nice dinner, it’s worth it.
Have you shared YOUR heart failure story with us yet?