Surviving a Heart Attack: How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Live Longer

Surviving a Heart Attack: How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack and Live Longer

Heart Attack
Heart Attack

Many of my patients ask me whether they can continue their lives after a heart attack and whether it affects their life expectancy. Now what, they wonder. I tell them that the way they are disciplined with medication, follow-up, lifestyle changes and exercise, the future is in their hands.

It all depends on how well you monitor heart activity and see the red signals during appropriate procedures.

This is particularly important because researchers at the University of Leeds found that heart attack survivors develop the condition at a much higher rate than the general population.

One-third of the study participants suffered heart or kidney failure, seven percent had a second heart attack and 38 percent died from other causes. It is the largest study of its kind, with researchers analyzing more than 145 million records covering every adult patient admitted to hospital in the UK.

Although more people than ever are surviving heart attacks – 90 percent by most estimates – the long-term consequences are serious. If a patient is not treated within the first 30 to 60 minutes of a heart attack, irreversible damage to the heart tissue can occur, increasing the risk of cardiac arrest. So we need to control any triggers that make the situation worse.

Heart Attack
Heart Attack

Check Risk Factors

A heart attack survivor must understand that risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, chronic kidney disease (CKD), bad cholesterol, or stress may have caused their attack in the first place. And he went beyond limits.

While intervention or stent placement may solve the problem immediately, co-morbidities take time to heal. Once the parameters are at safe levels, they should be kept there for several years.

Monitor your blood sugar even if you don’t have diabetes

Even if you don’t have diabetes at the time of a heart attack, it can develop silently for years. This causes microvascular dysfunction that affects the small blood vessels that nourish the heart muscle, kidneys, and retina. Over time they can cause major problems. Sometimes, silent diabetes causes macrovascular complications, affecting large arteries and plaque in the heart, brain and limbs. That is why diabetes should be avoided in the event of an attack, as the patient may be at risk of having another episode.

Go to cardiac rehab

Cardiac rehabilitation is an outpatient program that involves exercise under medical supervision, starting with sessions three times a week for three months. One study found that cardiac rehabilitation helped reduce the risk of repeat heart attacks by 47 percent. Another study found that patients who underwent cardiac rehabilitation were, on average, 42 percent less likely to die within eight years.

Heart Attack
Heart Attack

change your diet

Follow a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, nuts, fish and lean meat. Avoid saturated fats and trans fats. Avoid snacks that contain partially hydrogenated oils.

Stop smoking and drinking alcohol

If you quit smoking, you can cut your risk of a second heart attack in half. Alcohol increases your blood pressure, blood sugar and triglyceride levels.

Take prescribed medications

Your heart, cholesterol (statins) and blood pressure medications are an important part of your diet. If you’re at high risk and having trouble controlling your cholesterol, you may be given medications called PCSK9 inhibitors.

Keep your weight under control: Being overweight increases the risk of having another heart attack. Your BMI (body mass index) should be between 18.5 and 24.9.

Don’t miss your follow-ups: Monitoring your condition and improvement is not a one-time, but a lifetime exercise. Therefore, consult your cardiologist as mentioned.

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