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Life After a Heart Attack

If you've already had a heart attack, there are some things you need keep in mind.

  1. You are at greater risk of having another one. Talk with your doctor about what to look for—keep in mind a repeat heart attack may not feel the same as your first. Also, some people have chest pain (angina) that is usually brought on by physical activity. Ask your doctor how you can tell the difference between this and pain that might be related to a heart attack.

    Call 9-1-1 if you think you are having a heart attack.
  2. Follow your care plan. It's really important to keep up with your treatments—lifestyle changes and medications. There may also be things you should avoid—for example, certain medications, alcohol or foods. Also, know what your ideal weight is, as well as your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  3. Say 'yes' to cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab programs, which include health education and supervised exercise, can help you gain strength during your recovery. It's also been shown to lower the risk of dying or going back to the hospital.
  4. Ask for support. Ask trusted friends and family to help you live a healthier life, come to appointments with you and be there as a source of comfort.
  5. Have an emergency plan in place. Keep a current list of your medications (names, prescriber, dosage and how often you take each), health care providers with contact information, basic medical history and contact info of a close friend or relative. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, aside from dialing 9-1-1, find out from your doctor if there is anything you can take while you wait for emergency services to arrive (e.g., chewing an aspirin, nitroglycerin pill or other medication).

  • Last Edited 08/31/2015