Every year in the United States, nearly a million people have heart attacks. Of those, about three-quarters are first heart attacks.
If you’ve had a heart attack, it’s natural to be curious — and even a little anxious — about what to expect afterward. How will it affect your life? Will you have to give anything up? Will you be healthy afterward?
As a leading cardiovascular doctor in Port St. Lucie, Florida, Anthony B. Lewis MD, FACC, helps patients at TLC Medical Group, Inc. manage their anxieties with ongoing care and management to help them lead healthy, fulfilling lives after a heart attack.
You might have chest pain
This item is first on the list because it’s a frequent cause of concern. It’s not uncommon to have very mild chest pain (or angina) following a heart attack. Pain should be light and transient. If you have very severe pain or symptoms like intense chest pressure, nausea, or shortness of breath, you should call 9-1-
1.If you experience angina, let Dr. Lewis know right away. He can provide medication to help reduce or prevent angina during recovery and beyond.
You’ll have an ongoing treatment plan
After a heart attack, it’s almost certain you’ll need to take medicine. The type of medicine depends on lots of factors, including factors associated with your unique attack.
You might need medicines to normalize your heart rate, to manage your blood pressure, or to lower your cholesterol. Many patients benefit from a combination of medicines. Your treatment plan will be tailored specifically to your needs to help your heart stay healthy.
You’ll need to make lifestyle changes
Medication and medical therapies are just part of your aftercare. You’ll also need to focus on making healthy lifestyle adjustments, like:
- Eating a heart-healthy diet
- Managing your weight
- Getting regular aerobic activity
- Quitting smoking
- Limiting alcohol intake
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Learning to manage your stress
The good news is, these changes can benefit your health and wellness in many other ways, too. Our team will be with you every step of the way giving you the guidance and support you need to adapt to your new, healthy lifestyle.
You might feel depressed
Having a heart attack brings you face-to-face with your own mortality, so it’s only natural to feel scared and anxious afterward. For many people, these feelings are transient and go away as they recover over the following weeks. But for others, feelings of anxiety can turn into depression — and depression increases your risk of having another attack.
Fortunately, post-heart attack depression can often be treated with “talk” therapy that helps you explore your feelings and find ways to feel empowered and in control of your life. In other cases, you might need antidepressant medication to help you feel better. In any event, you should never ignore feelings of depression. We can refer you to a medical professional who can help.
Activity is important
Many people think that, after a heart attack, they won’t be able to lead active lives. In most cases, the opposite is true — and in fact, incorporating moderate activity into your daily life can play a really important role in preventing a future heart attack (and reducing feelings of depression).
The key here is to ramp up slowly. After a heart attack, it’s common to feel fatigued. Even mild activity can leave you feeling tired or short of breath. Dr. Lewis can help you set exercise targets to help get you back to your regular level of activity over time, so your heart has a chance to heal and recover.
Cardiac rehabilitation can help
One great way to get back to your regular activities is to take part in cardiac rehabilitation. These programs feature specific exercises aimed at strengthening your heart and improving your cardio endurance without overexertion.
During exercises, your heart activity will be monitored, and you’ll be supervised by medical professionals. Your activity level will be increased gradually to help you build strength and confidence, too.
We can help you manage your health
Having a heart attack is absolutely an upsetting experience, and one that makes us worry about our own mortality. But today, there are lots of treatments that can help you live a happy, long life following your attack.
To learn more about how we can help you adjust and feel more confident after a heart attack, call 772-200-3829 or book an appointment online with the team at TLC Medical Group today.