Life After a Heart Attack
A heart attack is a crippling, traumatic and possibly fatal moment that does not have to define your tomorrow.
Defining Your Tomorrow
It’s a new day, and your life can be as enjoyable or even more so than before the incident. There is no reason to stop “living” although your outlook on life may change. A heart attack could be the step that leads you to make healthier choices, if you let it.
Step One: Start by sharing your concerns with your cardiologists so that they can provide the personalized information you will need.
Take full advantage of every service offered so that you learn as much as you can about your health and the things you should be doing to live a healthier life. One key service which can significantly reduce your chances of readmission to hospital following a heart attack is Cardiac Rehabilitation. If you were inactive prior to your heart attack, this program can help you get on track. Cardiac Rehabilitation programs are uniquely designed to assist you with your exercise and physical activity, modifications to your diet, provide education regarding your medications, and help you to manage the stress or depression you may experience during the rehabilitation period.
Step Two: Don’t look at exercise as a burden.
Cardiac Rehabilitation can help you become more comfortable exercising but even after you are discharged from the program, you will need to keep up the exercise. Weekly exercise will reduce your risk of a second heart attack, help you control your weight, help you control your blood sugar, if you are diabetic, and help you control your blood pressure. Whether you walk, join a gym or exercise in the comfort of your home; it does not matter, as long as you keep moving.
Step Three: Get your spouse and family involved.
Food is the center of most family gatherings, so ask your entire family to look at the way they eat and share the things you learn from your dietitian with them. Come together in the family kitchen and enjoy preparing healthful meals together, instead of eating out. Make it more fun by having a cook off or cook out with only items you have prepared at home.
Regular nights out at the bar drinking and smoking will be out of the question, but socializing will be important for your recovery and can help you get back into the normal rhythm of things. Try hosting the social gatherings at your home where you can limit the alcohol and offer healthier options for foods.
Step Four: Spend time with your spouse.
There is no reason why your sex life and intimacy should dwindle. Discuss any apprehensions with your cardiologist while your spouse is present, so that in your private discussion you can choose the options that are best for both of you.
Prior to the heart attack you probably saw your doctor once a year if at all, but following an event it will be necessary for you to have regular checkups with your doctor and blood work. These will help your healthcare team to determine which care plan is best for you.
Step Five: Last but certainly not least; live!
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