Experiencing a heart attack is a traumatic event. Most people survive their first heart attack and go on to live full and active lives. An important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle after experiencing a heart attack is continued medical follow-up.
After a heart attack, your physician may recommend you enter into a cardiac rehabilitation program. Your physician may also suggest lifestyle changes to promote the healing process and reduce the risk of another heart attack, including
- quitting smoking
- getting more physical activity
- following a healthy diet
- maintaining a healthy weight
Your doctor may also prescribe medication to diminish chest pain or control high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Most patients also require treatment for coronary heart disease (CHD) after a heart attack. CHD may cause you to experience angina, which can cause discomfort in the area of your heart muscle, but does not indicate you are experiencing another heart attack.
Feeling ‘Normal’ Again after a Heart Attack
Rest, including a good night’s sleep, is important after experiencing a heart attack. The American Heart Association recommends that patients take two weeks to three months off before returning to work, depending on the severity of the attack. During this period of time, many physicians encourage regular physical activity to strengthen the heart muscle, ease stress, and help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Among other emotions, many people experience anxiety and depression after suffering a heart attack. Your physician may be able to prescribe medication to relieve some of the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Your physician may also recommend that you seek individual or group therapy as part of your treatment.
The National Institute of Mental Health provides a brochure outlining the signs and symptoms of depression, the link between depression and heart disease, and possible treatments.
The Cardiovascular program at Regional Medical Center of San Jose continues to offer the latest technologies for maintaining heart health in our Heart Diagnostic Testing center.
To find a physician specializing in care for heart and vascular conditions, please call our free Consult-A-Nurse ® line at 1-888-762-8881.