At NYU Langone, nurses, dietitians, social workers, and rehabilitation experts provide the support you need after treatment for an aortic aneurysm. They can help you prevent future heart problems—such as aortic dissection—in a variety of ways, including monitoring and controlling your blood pressure and cholesterol level to help prevent an aortic aneurysm.
Your doctor can also provide screening if you are at risk for another aneurysm. Regular screening can help your doctor to detect an aneurysm before it expands, tears, or ruptures. People, especially men, older than age 60 with a history of smoking, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels, or atherosclerosis should have annual CT scans.
For people who need rehabilitation for muscle weakness and fatigue after surgery, NYU Langone offers both inpatient and outpatient services. Through the Joan and Joel Smilow Cardiac Prevention and Rehabilitation Center, which is part of Rusk Rehabilitation, specialists such as occupational and physical therapists, exercise physiologists, and nutritionists can help you reach your goals. These might include increasing physical endurance, reducing weight and stress, and improving your ability to make lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating.
NYU Langone’s cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program begins shortly after surgery. Physical therapists and occupational therapists teach you how to clear secretions in your chest, which can lead to infection. They also help you increase your mobility, strength, and endurance and teach you how to cough without putting stress on your aorta.
Your rehabilitation specialists can also direct you to support groups for additional health education.
Recovery after heart surgery can be physically and emotionally challenging. It’s not uncommon for people to experience depression after surgery.
If this occurs, your doctor can refer you to a social worker or a psychologist at Rusk Rehabilitation for one-on-one therapy. In addition, our peer support program offers people participating in cardiovascular rehabilitation and their families an opportunity to share information and experiences.
People with a history of smoking are significantly more likely to develop an abdominal aortic aneurysm. If you smoke, take steps to quit. Experts at NYU Langone’s Tobacco Cessation Programs can teach you techniques, including relaxation exercises, that can help you quit.
In addition to taking prescription cholesterol-lowering medications, you can help improve your cholesterol levels by making lifestyle changes. These might include getting regular exercise, avoiding saturated fat and sugary carbohydrates, eating fish at least once a week, and consuming 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber can be found in apples, beans, oatmeal, whole grains, and vegetables such as beets, cabbage, carrots, and cauliflower.
Cholesterol levels can rise with age, so it is important to have yours checked every year, particularly if you’re taking medication to change your cholesterol levels.
If you have hypertension, your NYU Langone doctor, monitors your blood pressure, and if necessary, prescribes medication to lower it. A manual or electronic blood pressure monitor can help you check your blood pressure at home. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have an elevated blood pressure reading that remains that way for several days. You can help lower your blood pressure by exercising regularly and reducing the amount of sodium in your diet.
It is important to maintain a healthy weight and eat nutritiously after treatment for an aortic aneurysm. The right diet can help you lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Registered dietitians and nutritionists at NYU Langone can develop a diet that reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Your doctor can refer you to NYU Langone’s Weight Management Program for additional assistance.
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