Heart Attack and Unstable Angina (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Life After a Heart Attack
Coming home after a heart attack may be unsettling. Your hospital stay may have seemed too short. You may be nervous about being home without doctors and nurses after being so closely watched in the hospital.
But you have had tests that tell your doctor that it is safe for you to return home. Now that you're home, you can take steps to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce the chance of having another heart attack.
Do cardiac rehab
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) teaches you how to be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health.
If you don't do a cardiac rehab program, you will still need to learn about lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of another heart attack. These changes include quitting smoking, eating heart-healthy foods, and being active. For more information on lifestyle changes, see the Prevention section of this topic.
Learn healthy habits
Making healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your chance of another heart attack. Quitting smoking, eating a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet, getting regular exercise, and staying at a healthy weight are important steps you can take. For more information, see:
For more information on how to make healthy lifestyle changes, see the Prevention section of this topic.
Manage your angina
Tell your doctor about any chest pain or discomfort (angina) you have after a heart attack. Many people have stable angina that can be relieved with rest or nitroglycerin.
For tips on managing angina see:
Manage stress and get help for depression
Depression and heart disease are linked. People who have heart disease are more likely to get depressed. And if you have both depression and heart disease, you may not stay as healthy as possible. This can make depression and heart disease worse.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your doctor. Take this short quiz to check your symptoms:
For more information, see the topic Depression.
Stress and anger can also hurt your heart. They might make your symptoms worse. Try different ways to reduce stress, such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. For more tips on how to manage stress, see the topic Positive Thinking With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
Have sex when you're ready
You may be afraid to resume sexual activity after a heart attack. But it's not true that resuming sex after a heart attack can cause another heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns. But you can resume sexual activity as soon as you feel ready for it.
If you take a nitrate, like nitroglycerin, do not take erection-enhancing medicines. Combining these medicines can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.
Whether you are recovering from a heart attack or are changing your lifestyle so you can avoid another one, emotional support from friends and family is important. Think about joining a heart disease support group. Ask your doctor about the types of support that are available where you live. Meeting other people with the same problems can help you know you're not alone.
Take other steps to live healthier
After a heart attack, it's also important to:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies