BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -
It’s normal to experience a wide range of emotions after a heart attack. In anticipation of World Heart Day, Saturday, September 29, an Ochsner Baton Rouge cardiologist is sharing important tips for life after a heart attack.
“It’s normal to be scared and overwhelmed after having a heart attack,” stated Dr. Pavan Malur, Ochsner cardiologist.
HEART ATTACK STATS (Source: American Heart Association)
- If someone has a heart attack, they are at higher risk for another one
- 1-in-5 patients age 45-plus will have another heart attack within five years of first heart attack
“You probably have a lot of questions about getting back to the things you love. Follow these simple tips to stay safe and healthy during recovery and beyond.”
LIFE AFTER A HEART ATTACK
1. Stay Active
After a heart attack, you might worry that being physically active will bring about another attack. But exercise is an important part of recovery, and key to leading a heart healthy lifestyle — which is more important now than ever before. Talk to your doctor about what level of activity is right for you.
2. Tell Your Doctor If You’re Having Chest Pain
Unfortunately, having a heart attack will always put you at risk for having another one. Talk to your doctor if you’re having any recurrent chest pain or pressure. The symptoms of a second heart attack can be different from the first. Watch for shortness of breath, pain in the upper body, nausea and fatigue. These can all be indicators of an issue with your heart.
3. Expect Changes
Many people go back to work, return to driving and resume the hobbies they enjoy. However, it’s important to remember that the road back to normalcy will be a winding one that takes time. As you and your healthcare team plan for your future heart health, you may need to make some changes to your diet, exercise routine, stress levels and more. Be patience and open to change.
4. Don’t Skip Rehab
One of the most important steps you can take in recovery is to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program. During this time, a team of specialists will help you navigate the reality of life after a heart attack. You’ll learn what lifestyle modifications you need to consider making to help your heart.
5. Listen to Your Feelings
You might feel scared, sad, depressed, angry, anxious or all the above. Don’t bottle up your feelings or assume they’ll go away. Consider joining a support group to learn how others have dealt with similar situations. Speak candidly with your doctor at follow-up appointments for additional support.
World Heart Day is celebrated every year on September 29th, and is an initiative of the World Heart Federation (WHF). It’s the world’s biggest platform for raising awareness about cardiovascular disease (CVD), including heart disease and stroke. Two of the biggest factors leading to CVD are high blood pressure and smoking.
“Having high blood pressure is not obvious,” added Dr. Malur.
“The best advice that I can give is check your blood pressure and quit smoking.”
One-in-three American adults has high blood pressure, and if not controlled, can cause damage to the eyes, brain, heart, blood vessels and kidneys. High blood pressure has no warning signs or symptoms, so monitoring your blood pressure is very important and the only way to know whether it’s under control.
For decades, high blood pressure was treated with regular trips to the doctor’s office. Now, with Ochsner’s innovative solution, patients take control of their health with regular blood pressure readings at home, monitored remotely by a team of professionals. Studies have shown patients in the digital program achieve better blood pressure control in the first 90 days versus those in traditional treatment.