If you’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer, treatment options include watchful waiting, hormone therapy, surgery, and brachytherapy among others. Your doctor will be able to recommend the best treatment options for you based on your specific needs. However, you should know that certain treatments can affect your heart, including hormone therapy (also known as androgen deprivation therapy or ADT).
Research shows that ADT can cause weight gain, raise cholesterol and blood sugar levels and reduce muscle mass, among other side effects. According to the American Heart Association, testosterone-blocking drugs can also affect your heart’s QT interval, which is the amount of time it takes for heart cells to recharge in between beats.
While this can increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will. However, it’s crucial to know the signs of heart disease so you can let your doctor know as soon as you begin to experience symptoms.
Symptoms of heart disease can include:
- Chest pain, tightness or pressure
- Swelling in your legs and ankles
- Shortness of breath
There are lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of developing heart problems, especially while being treated for prostate cancer. Maintain a healthy diet (avoid foods high in cholesterol), exercise regularly, don’t smoke cigarettes and keep an eye on your blood pressure.
If you’re concerned about developing heart problems while undergoing treatment, talk to your doctor. It’s important to weigh the risks and benefits associated with any treatment option, especially if you already have heart disease or another underlying condition. If you experience any troubling symptoms after starting hormone therapy or another type of treatment, let your doctor know as soon as possible.
At Arkansas Urology, we’re here for you. Our patients’ health has been and will always be our top priority! Do you need to schedule an appointment? Contact us today or book your appointment online. We look forward to seeing you soon.