Heart disease; nicotine patches

Created date

April 28th, 2020
An anatomical heart shines red in drawing of a blue body.

Q: What is the difference between coronary heart disease and heart failure?

A: Coronary heart disease and heart failure are two different forms of heart disease. They can, however, have similar causes and outcomes. Coronary heart disease develops over time when blood vessels become either narrowed or occluded with plaque. Heart attacks happen when an artery becomes sufficiently clogged that it completely cuts off oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Coronary heart disease and heart attacks can cause the heart muscle itself to weaken, and that’s when heart failure can set in. 

Heart failure has a significant effect on the entire body because the organs and cells in the body do not get enough oxygen and nourishment simply because the heart is too weak to pump the blood. Protect your heart by following an eating plan that includes vegetables, whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy, and lean protein. Exercise daily, get recommended screenings and vaccinations, and see your doctor regularly.

Q: I want to get off the nicotine patches I’ve been using since I quit smoking last year, but I am not sure the best way to do it. 

A: Congratulations on quitting smoking. You’ve taken a giant step toward better health. Nicotine replacement products have been available for decades, and they have helped many people like you finally quit. But trying to stop using these products can be difficult because, after all, your body becomes accustomed to nicotine, no matter what form it is in. 

People can, however, successfully wean off nicotine replacement products and remain tobacco-free. The best way to start is to get some support and make a plan of action, ideally with your doctor’s input. Check out other resources, such as smokefree.gov, which has numerous tips on how to quit smoking. Many of the quitting strategies work just as well for weaning off nicotine replacement products. Be willing to be flexible, and if one strategy doesn’t work well, try another. You don’t want to find yourself craving cigarettes again. 

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living-managed communities all over the U.S. Dr. Tremaine received his bachelor’s degree from the University of California in Santa Barbara, Calif., and his medical degree from the University of California in San Diego. He completed his residency in addition to geriatric fellowships at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Tex. Tremaine is board-certified in internal medicine and geriatrics. He joined Eagle’s Trace in November 2011.