social psychological impact of a heart condition

Coping with a heart condition or a diagnosis of heart disease can not only affect your body, but may also impact your finances, your ability to work and drive, your daily activities and your overall mental health.

How could a heart condition impact my mental health, lifestyle, wellness and emotions?

A sudden cardiac event such as a heart attack, the diagnosis of a new heart condition or cardiac procedure or surgery not only affects your body, but may also impact many other aspects of your life. These could include your finances, your ability to work and drive, your daily activities and your overall mental health.

If you are hospitalized for a heart condition in Fraser Health or are connected to one of our cardiac clinics, we have resources to help you cope with these emotional, social and lifestyle factors. Ask to speak to one of our cardiac social workers for more information. Here are some tips on how you can manage some of the most common practical and psychological concerns patients experience in dealing with heart disease.

How can I replace my income if I'm unable to work due to a heart condition or procedure?

After a new diagnosis of a heart condition, which may trigger cardiac interventions such as surgery or other procedures, you may not be able to return to work for several weeks or months. It is important to consider how not working may affect your finances and to explore income replacement options.

Income replacement options that may be available to you could include:

How do I pay for heart medications?

After diagnosis of a heart condition, you will likely be prescribed new medications to help you manage your condition. The cost of medications may lead to financial strain. There are programs that may help.

  • Check your drug coverage. If you have extended medical benefits through employer or pay for your own plan, they may cover some of the cost of your medications.
  • Make sure you are registered with Fair PharmaCare. Look into the Income Review Process if you have had a reduction in income or the Monthly Deductible Program to spread out your deductible of the course of the year.
  • Check your benefits. If you are receiving income assistance or disability benefits through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction, your medication costs should be covered under Plan C.

How do I get to medical appointments if I can't drive?

Depending on your heart condition and the surgery or procedure you had, you may not be able to drive for several weeks or months. Asking family and friends for rides is good option, but if they are not able you may have to consider other options including:

I live alone with limited supports, how will I manage?

After a heart attack, a new diagnosis of a heart condition, or a hospital stay due to heart failure or heart surgery, you may not be able to resume some activities you were previously able to do at home. If friends and family are not able to help, there are some community programs that may assist you:

  • If you require assistance with personal care (this will usually be arranged prior to you leaving the hospital), connect with Fraser Health Home Health.
  • If you are over the age of 65, and require non-medical support at home that may include light housekeeping, yard work, snow removal, medical transportation, friendly visitors, check out the Better at Home Program in your community.
  • If you are not able to manage meals and groceries, connect with your local grocery store about home delivery or ordering your groceries online. You can also search for a Meals on Wheels service or consider hiring a commercial meal service such as Better Meals and others.

I'm feeling overwhelmed and depressed, what should I do?

It is quite common to experience low mood, less energy and an overall feeling of being blue after a heart attack, cardiac procedure or open heart surgery. This can be a very distressing, confusing and challenging time and it important to monitor your mental wellness and seek appropriate supports as needed if these symptoms don't resolve in a few weeks.

For information on depression, anxiety and cardiac health visit:

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