How to Support a Friend With Heart Disease

How to Support a Friend with Heart Disease

Supporting a friend with heart disease can help her feel better about her diagnosis and even help her make healthier life choices.

Here are a few ways you can provide support:


When your friend is discussing her heart diagnosis with you, one of the best things you can do is listen. While it may be tempting to tell her all the ways she can eat healthier or exercise more often, focus instead on hearing her concerns before rushing to give advice. You can also ask whether she just wants to vent or if she wants your input. 

Get Informed

Chances are that your friend is going to the doctor more often these days and may feel overwhelmed by the barrage of information given to her. Lighten her load by doing some research yourself. This may involve researching her condition and treatment options. 

The Go Red for Women and American Heart Association websites have many helpful articles to get you started. Learn more about heart disease in women.

You can also offer to go to medical visits with her. Sometimes, having a second set of ears is helpful when someone is managing a serious or complex health condition.

Offer to Help with Practical Tasks

Your friend may have to manage her new heart disease diagnosis while also working, raising children or taking care of an older loved one. Even without these other responsibilities, your friend may just feel tired sometimes. Learning the ins and outs of heart disease while juggling other responsibilities can be a lot to take on. 

You can offer help with practical tasks like cleaning, picking up groceries or taking her to appointments. 


Depression is an unfortunate byproduct of heart disease for many women. Upon receiving bad health news, they may shut themselves off from activities they once enjoyed. If this describes your friend, set up a regular social outing for the two of you (or invite others) — maybe an afternoon tea or a movie night once a week. 

Even just checking in regularly with a call or text can make a difference. That regular social contact will help your friend cope emotionally and boost her mood.

Monitor Mental Health

A new diagnosis of heart disease can stir up emotions and is associated with depression. It’s also not unusual for your friend to feel anxious about managing her diagnosis. Encourage your friend to seek help from a mental health professional if you regularly see any of the following signs:

  • Feeling irritable
  • Having trouble controlling worries
  • Unable to concentrate
  • Feeling sad
  • Having feelings of hopelessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or other activities your friend usually enjoys

Get Active

Help improve your friend’s heart health by scheduling time to do physical activities together. Based on her likes and capabilities, organize a regular walk around the neighborhood or take a dance or step aerobics class together. Not only will the physical activity  help your friend’s heart health, but it can improve her mood, too.