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How to Prevent a Heart Attack!



Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease (CAD). You can help prevent a heart attack by knowing about your risk factors for disease of the arteries and potential heart attack, plus taking action to lower your risk.

You can lower your risk of having a heart attack, even if you have already had a heart attack or are told that your chances of having a heart attack are high.

To prevent a heart attack, you will most likely need to make lifestyle changes. You may also need to get treatment for conditions that raise your risk.

Make Lifestyle Changes

You can lower your risk for peritheral artery disease and heart attack by making healthy lifestyle choices:

In addition to making lifestyle changes, you can help prevent heart attacks by treating conditions you have that make a heart attack more likely:



Prevent a Second Heart Attack

If you have already had a heart attack, it is very important to follow your doctor's advice to prevent another heart attack:

Make sure that you have an emergency action plan in case you have signs of a second heart attack. Talk to your doctor about making your plan, and talk with your family about it. The plan should include:

Life after a Heart Attack

There are millions of people who have survived a heart attack. Many recover fully and are able to lead normal lives.

If you have already had a heart attack, your goals are to:

After a heart attack, you will need to see your doctor regularly for checkups and tests to see how your heart is doing. Your doctor will also most likely recommend:

Exercise is good for your heart muscle and overall health. It can help you lose weight, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, reduce stress, and lift your mood. If you have angina after your heart attack, you will need to learn when to rest and when and how to take medicine for angina.

Returning to Usual Activities

After a heart attack, most people are able to return to their normal activities. Ask your doctor when you should go back to:

Most people without chest pain following an uncomplicated heart attack can safely return to most of their usual activities within a few weeks. Most can begin walking immediately. Sexual activity with the usual partner can also begin within a few weeks for most patients without chest pain or other complications.

Driving can usually begin within a week for most patients without chest pain or other complications if allowed by state law. Each state has rules for driving a motor vehicle following a serious illness. Patients with complications or chest pain should not drive until their symptoms have been stable for a few weeks.

Your doctor will tell you when you should return to each of these activities.



Anxiety and Depression After a Heart Attack

After a heart attack, many people worry about having another heart attack. They often feel depressed and may have trouble adjusting to a new lifestyle. You should discuss your feelings of anxiety or depression with your doctor. Your doctor can give you medicine for anxiety or depression, if needed. Spend time with family, friends, and even pets. Affection can make you feel better and less lonely. Most people do not continue to feel depressed after they have fully recovered.

Know How and When to Seek Medical Attention

Having a heart attack increases your chances of having another one. Therefore, it is very important that you and your family know how and when to seek medical attention. Talk to your doctor about making an emergency action plan, and talk with your family about it. The plan should include:

Many heart attack survivors also have chest pain or angina. The pain usually occurs after exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take your angina medicine (nitroglycerin) as directed. In a heart attack, the pain is usually more severe than angina, and it does not go away when you rest or take your angina medicine. If in doubt whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, again phone 911.

Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms begin before they seek medical help. This delay can result in death or lasting heart damage.

Summary

A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood and oxygen to an area of heart muscle is blocked, usually by a blood clot. This may cause the heart to stop beating and pumping blood effectively (arrhythmia) and lead to death or permanent damage to the heart.

Each year, over a million people in the U.S. have a heart attack and about half of them die. About one-half of those who die do so within 1 hour of the start of symptoms and before reaching the hospital. Most of these sudden deaths (within 1 hour) are due to arrhythmias that cause a severe decrease in the pumping function of the heart.

Signs of a heart attack include chest pain that may also spread to the back, shoulders, arms, neck, or jaw. You may have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, or dizziness. Symptoms vary, and some people have no symptoms. Know the signs of a heart attack so you can act fast to get treatment.

Unfortunately, many heart attack victims wait 2-hrs or longer after their symptoms begin before they seek medical help. This delay can result in death or lasting heart damage.
The amount of damage from a heart attack depends on how much of the heart is affected, how soon treatment begins, and other factors.

Both men and women have heart attacks.

Risk factors gathered from extensive doctors evidence and research about heart disease and heart- attack include those risk factors you can not change, such as your age and family history of early heart disease. But there are also many things you can do to lower your risk, such as not smoking, eating a diet low in fat and cholesterol, and exercising regularly. It is also important to keep your weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure under control.

Diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack can begin when emergency medical personnel arrive after you call 9-1-1. At the hospital emergency room, doctors will work fast to find out if you are having or have had a heart attack and give you treatment.

If you are having a heart attack, doctors will work quickly to restore blood flow to the heart and continuously monitor vital signs to detect and treat complications.

Long-term treatment after a heart attack may include cardiac rehabilitation, checkups and tests, lifestyle changes, plus heart and arterial medications.

After a heart attack, most people are able to return to their normal activities. Ask your doctor when you should go back to driving, physical activity, work, sexual activity, strenuous activities, and air travel.

If you have had a heart attack, it is very important to have an emergency action plan in case of another heart attack. Talk to your doctor about your health action plan and make sure that your family members understand it.

Remember, a heart attack is an emergency. Call 911 emergency if you think you (or someone else) may be having a heart attack. Don't delay, act right away!


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