Preventing Another Heart Attack
Eating a heart healthy diet is very important to prevent future complications. Here are some basic guidelines (visit choosemyplate.gov for more information):
- Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes.
- Choose fat calories wisely (good fats i.e. nuts, avocadoes, fish vs. bad fats i.e. burgers, pizza or chips.)
- Eat a variety and just the right amount of protein foods.
- Limit dietary cholesterol.
- Use complex carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains, fruits) for energy and limit intake of simple carbohydrates (i.e. soda and desserts.)
- Place less emphasis on sodium and increase your potassium, magnesium and calcium intake.
Physical activity is essential for the healing process, but you may feel tired and weak because of damage to your heart muscles and the bed rest from the hospital. Be sure to:
- Pace yourself, spread your activities through the day and if you become tired, rest!
- Walk everyday as prescribed by your doctor. Walking is a good way to regain your energy, but be sure to ask your doctor what amount of exercise is best for you! The goal is 30 minutes per day at least five days per week, but work up to it.
- When you’re feeling stronger, you can return to household chores.
- Do not lift, push or pull heavy objects until you are cleared by your doctor to do these activities.
Your doctor will tell you when you can resume work, driving and more strenuous activities!
This can usually be resumed shortly after your hospital visit unless you have had a recent surgery. Sexual activity is similar to climbing stairs or taking a brisk walk. If you cannot perform these activities without getting angina (chest pain), shortness of breath or feeling tired, talk with your doctor. Do not be afraid to bring up sexual activity with your provider.
- Communicate with your partner.
- Have sex when you are rested and physically comfortable.
- Be caring, honest and loving with each other.
- Some medications may interfere with sexual arousal and performance so talk with your doctor.
Prevention of future heart problems
- Take your meds.
- Change your lifestyle (stop smoking, control blood pressure, diabetes, diet and exercise.)
- Engage in cardiac rehab and Heart Healthy Fitness.