Surviving a heart attack can feel like you have a new lease on life. While only 1 in 5 people who have had a heart attack have a second heart attack within five years, you are at increased risk.
However, having one heart attack doesn’t mean you will have another. The good news is that you can avoid having another heart attack by taking precautions within the first year.
Preventing a second heart attack can depend on adjustments to habits and lifestyle choices. Optimal living is an individualized program to combat and prevent certain conditions, such as heart disease.
Preventative action includes understanding your risk factors, exercising, eating habits, lifestyle changes, and medication, if necessary.
Identifying Your Risk Factors
One of the ways you and with the help of your doctor, can prevent a second heart attack is by monitoring and managing your risk factors. These include:
- Cholesterol: High numbers of bad cholesterol such as LDL.
- Blood sugar: Diabetes increases your risk of a heart attack.
- High blood pressure: Also known as hypertension, can damage arteries.
- Smoking: This also includes long-term exposure to second-hand smoke.
- Weight: Being overweight or obese can increase your risk.
Ways To Help Prevent a Second Heart Attack
Even after your first heart attack, it’s never too late to take action. Here are several changes that can help reduce your risk of another heart attack and improve your overall health.
Getting rid of any sources of continuing stress in your life can help you prevent another potential heart attack. While it’s not always easy to get rid of all stress, such as anxiety about having another attack, it’s worth making some effort or asking for help.
Manage your Cholesterol
The higher the bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood, the more plaque you are likely to have, and the more damaged your artery walls can become. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help lower your cholesterol levels.
If you have diabetes, exercise, diet, and medication can help manage blood sugar levels and reduce your risk of having a second heart attack.
Smokers are 2 to 4 times more at risk of heart disease than nonsmokers. Smoking increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the risk of blood clots. It also reduces blood flow and oxygen from the heart and damages blood vessels.
There are alternatives to help with quitting, such as joining a support group or speaking to your doctor.
Being overweight or having a thicker waistline can increase blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol. Extra weight also makes the heart work harder. Speak to your doctor if you need to lose weight.
A heart-healthy diet includes lots of fruit, vegetable, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and lean protein. Cutting down on foods high in saturated and trans fats reduces plaque buildup in the arteries and the risk of blockages. You can also limit your salt, sugar, and high-fat dairy intake.
Speak to your doctor about an exercise regime before starting. Cardiovascular exercise, such as running, biking, and swimming, lower your risk by strengthening the heart muscles.
Exercise does so much more than that. It also lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, boosts energy, relieves stress, and helps with weight management.
Adhere to Medications
To further reduce your risk of a second heart attack, your doctor may prescribe medications to lower blood pressure and cholesterol or prevent blood clots.
Keep in Touch with Your Doctor
Maintaining regular contact and appointments with your doctor ensures they can monitor your health and any changes in your condition.
One of the best ways to prevent a second heart attack is to be proactive in your health. Knowing the symptoms and your risks can ease your worries.
The most important things you can do is monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, quit smoking, and maintain contact with your doctor.
If you have suffered a heart attack, All American Assisted Living can help by providing strength and flexibility training, functional activity programs, and ways to prevent future issues. Call us today to learn more about our lifestyle options.