Some hospitals offer cardiac rehabilitation programs that may continue in the months after the patient has returned home. The programs usually focus on three areas:
- Emotional issues
- Lifestyle changes
Prevention and Healthy Lifestyle
- Aspirin is usually prescribed after a heart attack, as it prevents platelets from forming clots and reduces the risk of a second heart attack by 15-30%. People who haven't had a heart attack but who are over 50 and have two or more risk factors should take low-dose aspirin daily.
- Beta-blockers lighten the heart's workload by slowing the heartbeat.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors help to lower blood pressure and reduce the workload on the heart.
- Lipid-lowering drugs lower the level of cholesterol in the blood.
Prevention is the best medicine for a heart attack. A "heart-healthy" lifestyle means:
- Quitting smoking
- Losing weight if you're overweight
- Eating a healthy diet with few saturated fats and no trans fats; more fruits, vegetables, and fiber; and moderate alcohol intake
- Exercising regularly (30-45 minutes, 3-5 times per week)
- Controlling diabetes and high blood pressure
- Managing stress
If you do make these changes, you're very likely to find that your whole quality of life improves. You'll probably sleep better, have more energy, and have a more positive outlook on life in general.
Understanding Heart Attacks (VIDEO)
Your Heart Needs Blood
Your Beating Heart
Atherosclerosis & Cholesterol
Angina & Coronary Heart Disease
Heart Attack Symptoms
What Is a Heart Attack?
Risk Factors & Diagnosis
Treating Heart Attacks
Restoring Blood Flow
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