After you've had a heart attack, you may be worried that you could have another one. That's easy to understand. But the good news is that there are things you can do to reduce your risk of having another heart attack. Taking medicine, doing cardiac rehabilitation, and making healthy lifestyle changes can help.
You'll take medicines to help prevent another heart attack. Be sure to take your medicines exactly as prescribed. And don't stop taking them unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking your medicines, you can increase your risk of having another heart attack.
Some of the medicines your doctor may prescribe include:
You can help lower your chance of having another heart attack by managing other health problems that you might
have. Health problems, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes, can increase your risk of a heart
If you have any of these health problems, you can manage them by making lifestyle changes, such as quitting
smoking, eating better, and being active. If lifestyle changes don't help enough, you also may need to take medicines
to manage these conditions.
Taking part in a cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) program can help lower your risk of having another heart attack. A cardiac rehab program is designed for you and supervised by doctors and other specialists.
This type of program helps you recover from a heart attack. It also helps you take steps to prevent another one. In the program, a team of health professionals provides education and support to help you build new, healthy habits.
In cardiac rehab, you'll learn how to manage your heart disease and any other health problems that you might have, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression. You'll also learn how to exercise safely, eat a heart-healthy diet, and quit smoking if you smoke. You'll work with your team to decide what lifestyle choices are best for you.
If your doctor hasn't already suggested it, ask him or her if cardiac rehab is right for you.
Healthy lifestyle changes can help lower your risk of having another heart attack. And they may help you feel better and live longer. Here are some things you can do:
It's also important to:
Other Works ConsultedSmith SC, et al. (2011). AHA/ACCF secondary prevention and risk reduction therapy for patients with coronary and other atherosclerotic vascular disease: 2011 update: A guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation. Circulation, 124(22): 2458–2473. Also available online: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/124/22/2458.full.
May 14, 2012
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
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