After a Heart Attack

After a heart attackIf you've had a heart attack, you're probably wondering how your life is going to change.

It depends on how severe your heart attack was, how it was treated, and lifestyle changes that you make. In many ways, it’s up to you! Your life can be even healthier and more active than before.

Recovering and Preventing Future Problems
The first step is to work with your health care provider to find the cause of your heart attack. This may have been done while you were in the hospital.

After a first heart attack, the risk for another heart attack increases two- or three-fold. But that doesn’t mean a second heart attack has to happen. There are many strategies you and your provider can use to make your life healthy:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Change your diet.
  • Become more physically active and lose weight, if needed.
  • Control high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes if you have these conditions. 
  • Take your medicine.
  • Maintain regular follow-up with your provider. 
  • Limit alcohol and the use of illegal drugs.

Getting Support from Friends and Family
Your family members can help you in your recovery. For example, your partner can exercise with you and provide support and encouragement. Or they can join in eating a healthy diet, encourage you to complete a rehab program or quit smoking, and remind you to take medicine.

Family members can also watch your mood. Depression is common after a heart attack. Those close to you should encourage you to get help and call the health care provider if they notice changes.

Talking with your friends and family can help identify concerns and areas for improvement. Together, you can find a way to support a healthier lifestyle for you and your heart. 

Finding Your New ‘Normal’
After a heart attack, many are able to enjoy an active life and return to work. The key is receiving rapid care and treatment from a team of cardiac experts. To learn more about the compassionate, collaborative heart and vascular services offered at WCHN, click here.