Coping and support

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) can be an unexpected and shocking diagnosis. The condition can cause serious and scary symptoms, and it often affects people who may have few risk factors for heart disease.

Each person may find his or her own way of coping with a diagnosis. In time you'll find what works for you. Until then, you might try to:

  • Find out more about your diagnosis. Find out enough about spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) so that you can feel comfortable participating in decisions about your care. Ask your doctor for the specifics of your situation, such as the location and size of your artery tear and descriptions of the treatments you've received.

    If you're a woman and you have had spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), your doctor may recommend you avoid pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about his or her recommendations.

    Talk with your health care team about where you can find more information about spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

  • Connect with others living with your diagnosis. Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is uncommon, but national organizations can help connect you to others who share your diagnosis. Organizations such as the American Heart Association and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease can provide telephone and online support.
  • Take care of yourself. Help your body recover by taking good care of yourself. For instance, get enough sleep so that you wake feeling rested, choose a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, and find healthy ways to cope with stress, such as listening to music or writing down your thoughts.

    If your doctor feels it's safe, try to do moderate physical activity, such as walking, for 30 to 40 minutes most days of the week.

    If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to your doctor. Your doctor may recommend that you talk to a mental health professional (psychologist).

  • Spend time with family and friends. Spending time with your family and friends and discussing your concerns can help you cope with your condition.