HEART ATTACK SURVIVORS OFTEN ARE COUNSELED TO MAKE BIG CHANGES TO THEIR LIVES, modifying what they eat and living active lives with plenty of exercise. “Many patients see this as a life changing event. It can be an opportunity for a fresh start toward being healthier and feeling better ” says Hamp Jones, MD, of Baptist Heart.
Start with these tips:
:: Participate in cardiac rehabilitation. The cardiac rehab team gives you a head start in the right direction with supervised exercise, education and encouragement to help you reach your goal of a healthy recovery.
:: Move your body. Exercise strengthens your heart, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and helps you lose weight. Start slowly and gradually work up to 30 minutes about four days a week.
:: Relax. Deep breathing, meditation and any other activity that dials down stress can help safeguard your heart from future problems.
:: No more butts. “Smoking after a heart attack increases both the risk of another heart attack as well as the risk of stroke,” cautions Dr. Jones. Quitting is no easy task, but that’s no reason not to do it.
:: Eat healthfully. A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in saturated fats naturally helps combat heart disease. Green vegetables, blueberries, almonds, oatmeal and fish are healthy choices.
A second chance
Having a heart attack can be a wake-up call — the push a survivor needs to make changes to feel better. While heart disease is life changing, it doesn’t have to get the best of you.