Living With Heart Disease and Stroke

If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, or if you have had a heart attack or stroke, it can be a frightening time. Meeting new challenges, adapting your behaviours and learning to cope with the emotional effects of the experience can sometimes be overwhelming.

 Taking time for yourself

Because many women are responsible for taking care of members of their families, including children and ageing parents, it can be difficult to make time to take care of yourself. It’s important to find a balance that allows you take time for yourself, even if it means shifting some responsibilities to others in the family. If you aren’t physically and emotionally strong, you can’t take care of others. We all need help sometimes—don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.

 Coping physically

Recovering from a heart attack or stroke can be physically challenging. You may find that you tire much more easily, or that you can’t do everything you were once able to do. It may be a while before you can resume different activities such as driving, returning to work or sexual intimacy. Your doctor or a specialist care team will help guide you back to a fuller range of activity in time.

 Coping emotionally

Coping emotionally with a diagnosis of heart disease or stroke can be difficult for women. They can experience a range of emotions, including shock, disbelief, anger and depression in reaction to their illness. Women who live alone or have limited social support may have an even harder time dealing with their emotions at this time.

There are many supports and resources available to women who are coping with heart disease or recovering from a heart attack or a stroke. You can find links to more information on living with heart disease and coping after a stroke on the Heart and Stroke website.