Your Guide To: Life After A Heart Attack

Older African American couple happyIf 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. Work with your healthcare provider on a plan.

Recovering and Preventing Future Problems

The first step is to work with your healthcare provider to find the cause of your heart attack. This may have been done while you were in the hospital. You will have likely had various tests of your heart and blood to find out what risk factors caused the heart attack. These tests might have included electrocardiograms, echocardiogram, stress test, coronary catheterization and angiogram, and numerous blood tests. Talk with your provider about ways to reduce the risk for another heart attack.

After a first heart attack, the risk of another heart attack increases 2- or 3-fold. That doesn’t mean, though, that the 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.

Undergo angioplasty or surgery.

Take your medicine.

Maintain regular follow-up with your healthcare provider.