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Heart Attack Recovery: What’s Essential to Know

It’s common knowledge that the top health risk for Americans is heart disease. For some of us, heart disease can play out as a heart attack. About 735,000 men and women will have a heart attack during the year.

Thanks to awareness of the risks and signs of heart disease, along with innovations in medical care, your chances of surviving a heart attack are improving.

If you or someone you care about is a heart attack survivor, what’s next? Recovering and returning to an active lifestyle is possible. Here are the primary steps:

Cardiac Rehabilitation

The specifics of your cardiac rehab will depend on the extent of damage to your heart and other coronary artery conditions you have.


With the guidance of your health care professionals, you’ll learn about lifestyle changes that will help you recover and get back to your normal activities. Medications may be part of the recovery process. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure.

By following your provider’s guidance, you’ll:

  • Increase your chances for a successful recovery.
  • Reduce your risk for future hospital visits due to heart-related problems, such as another heart attack.
  • Reduce anxiety and depression, which are common feelings for heart attack survivors. Visit with your provider if you have feelings of anger, anxiety or depression.

Lifestyle Changes

Here are some changes that are essential to your successful recovery:

If you have any questions about how and when to take your medications, don’t hesitate to ask your provider. But keep in mind, medications alone cannot assure a successful recovery!

Your provider can give you useful guidance about successfully kicking the habit. 


  • Reduce high cholesterol.

A combination of medication and exercise may be recommended by your provider.


  • Boost your health through the foods you eat.

A registered dietitian can give you guidance in choosing foods that are good – and good for you. Balanced nutrition will help with weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

  • Get moving!

Regular physical activity is helpful for your mental and physical health. It can help you manage your weight and lower your blood pressure and cholesterol.


Reduce Your Risks

Now that we’ve reviewed recovery, this is a good time to bring up prevention of heart disease. If you look at the lifestyle changes for recovery, these are the same steps you can take to reduce your risks for heart disease – and a potential heart attack.

Now’s the time to:

  • Manage your weight.
  • Get active.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Manage diabetes.
  • Control your cholesterol.

Your health care professional can help you reduce your risks so you never have that heart attack. Today is the day to get started! If you need a doctor, you can find a qualified professional online.

Meet the Author

Louie N. Kostopoulos, MD is a Cardiovascular Disease physician at Aurora Cardiovascular Services in Milwaukee, WI.

Read more posts from this author

The information presented in this site is intended for general information and educational purposes. It is not intended to replace the advice of your own physician. Contact your physician if you believe you have a health problem.

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