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Blog: Life After a Heart Attack

Life After a Heart Attack

A heart attack is a serious — even life-threatening — event, so it’s not surprising that after a heart attack, many people are left wondering how to move forward and live their normal, day-to-day lives. The good news: With just a little planning and care, most people lead long, productive lives after having a heart attack — and the team at Phoenix Heart wants you to, too.

As a top-ranked cardiologist practice in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, and Canyon City, Arizona, Phoenix Heart helps patients take important steps to lead happy, healthy, confident lives post-heart attack. If you’ve had a heart attack, here are seven steps you can take to stay healthy.

#1: See your cardiologist regularly

Right after a heart attack, you’ll probably be pretty motivated to keep your follow-up visits. But ongoing cardiac care is important, too. That means seeing your cardiologist as often as recommended — at least once a year, and probably more often. 

Regular visits allow our team to monitor your progress and check for early warning signs with stress tests, EKGs, and other tests and lab work. Plus, our team can help you stay motivated and on track with healthy habits and lifestyle changes aimed at supporting a healthier heart.

#2: Eat a healthy diet

Cutting back on sodium and unhealthy fats is always a good idea, but it’s really important after a heart attack. Both fats and sodium can increase your risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and blocked arteries, each of which increases your risk of having another heart attack.

Eating more fiber, looking for foods with “healthy” fats (like oily fish and avocados), and incorporating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables into your diet are all important steps you can begin right away. Plus, eating right helps you shed extra pounds, reducing the strain on your heart.

#3: Be as active as possible

Physical activity is a great way to shed extra pounds, too, plus it can even help lower your cholesterol. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends at least 30 minutes of heart-healthy exercise each day. A lunchtime walk is a great way to get cardio exercise without overexerting yourself. 

Even though exercise is generally a good idea, don’t begin any new exercise routine without consulting with your cardiologist. You want to make sure your activity gives you the benefits of exercise without being too aggressive for your health.

#4: Take your medications

Most people take at least one medication after a heart attack — many people take more than one. Depending on your needs, you might take a blood thinner or anticoagulant, a blood pressure medication, a statin to lower cholesterol, or another medication to support heart health. Take your medicine exactly as prescribed, and call in advance if your prescription is running low.

#5: Know the warning signs

Chest pressure and pain in the left arm may be the so-called traditional signs of a heart attack, but there are other signs and symptoms, too. Plus, not everyone will experience a heart attack in the same way — and a second heart attack can “feel” different from the first one. Visit the AHA website to learn heart attack warning signs to help ensure you know when to seek immediate care.

#6: Look into cardiac rehab

Cardiac rehab programs support heart health following a heart-related problem. Rehab includes supervised exercise after a heart attack, along with guidance to help you improve your heart health through lifestyle changes, diet, and stress reduction. 

#7: Find a support group

A heart attack is a physical event that has emotional consequences. Most people are worried, confused, and even scared following a heart attack. Getting involved in a support group is a good way to discuss your feelings with other men and women who’ve been through the same experiences.

Having a heart attack is a life-changing event, but it doesn’t have to change your life for the worse. Our team will work with you to develop a custom health plan aimed at supporting better heart health and better overall health, too. To learn more, call or book an appointment online today.

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