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Over-The-Counter Medicine & Heart Accessories Checklist

OTC Medicine & Heart Accessories Checklist

Health-conscious shoppers have a wide variety of over-the-counter medicines, supplements and accessories that can help in the quest to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle. We've broken them down into this easy list.

Everyday Prevention

There are plenty of heart disease prevention options, starting with everyday maintenance for your body, such as:

  • Omega-3 products (the Food and Drug Administration says omega-3 fatty acids may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; in varying quantities you can get your omega-3 fats in fish, fish oil supplements, foods containing flax seeds, walnuts and certain eggs)
  • Fiber-filled foods or supplements
  • Butter substitutes
  • Calcium products including low-fat milk, yogurt or supplements
  • Smoking cessation products (patches, gum)

Stress Reduction

Reducing the amount of stress in your life can help your heart. You may want to consider these products:

  • Light exercise equipment such as hand weights, jump rope and running shoes
  • Relaxation products such as yoga DVDs, aromatherapy and positive thinking books

If You Have Been Diagnosed With Heart Issues

In cases where your doctor approves, those with a heart condition may consider purchasing:

  • Low-dose aspirin
  • Vitamin E
  • Salt substitutes or low-sodium “salt” products
  • Sugar substitutes such as Splenda or agave nectar
  • Meat alternatives and protein supplements

Heart Monitoring Devices

Depending on your condition, you may need to pay close attention to your blood pressure, cholesterol or even blood sugar levels. Options for “over-the-counter” home health monitoring purchases include:

  • Aneroid blood pressure monitors — the traditional “cuff and gauge” blood pressure monitor used in doctors' offices and seen on TV
  • Digital blood pressure monitors combine the gauge and a stethoscope into one unit but still use a cuff; these units may include automatic deflation of the cuff when the reading is finished
  • Medical alert chains or necklaces in case of emergencies transmit a call for help to a response center when the button is pushed
  • In-home cholesterol testers
  • Blood sugar testing kits

Before using any home testing kit, it’s important to ask your doctor for specific information about your needs. Blood pressure, cholesterol counts, blood sugar counts and other readings are not standardized; every person is different, so you should ask your doctor what to look for in your home healthcare device readings and how to properly interpret the readings you receive from your equipment. No two people have the same body chemistry; your results are unique to you and only your doctor should tell you how to proceed based on what you find. Always read the instructions carefully and go over your home health monitoring kit with your doctor first.

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