What lifestyles changes should I make after a heart attack?

If you've had a heart attack, your heart may still be damaged. This could affect your heart's rhythm, pumping action, and blood circulation. You may also be at risk for another heart attack or conditions such as stroke, kidney disorders and peripheral arterial disease. But there are steps you can take to lower your chances of having future health problems.

Your doctor may recommend cardiac rehabilitation, which is a program that can help you make lifestyle changes to improve your heart health and quality of life. These changes may include taking medication, changing what you eat, increasing your physical activity, stopping smoking and managing stress. Also, be sure to talk with your doctor about everyday activities. He or she may want you to limit work, travel, sex or exercise.

After a heart attack the following lifestyle changes can go a long way in helping to keep your heart disease from worsening:

  • not smoking
  • following a heart healthy eating plan
  • maintaining a healthier weight
  • becoming more physically active

In addition, medications are often used to treat high cholesterol, high blood pressure or heart disease itself. Be sure to take your medication exactly as your doctor prescribes. If you have uncomfortable side effects, let your doctor know. And follow your doctor’s orders. Your doctor may recommend procedures to open an artery and improve blood flow. These are usually done to ease severe chest pain or to clear blockages in blood vessels.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care organization that acts in accordance with the Catholic tradition and does not condone or support all practices covered in this site.  In case of emergency call 911. This site is educational and not a substitute for professional medical advice, always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider.

Dr. Merle Myerson, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Cardiovascular specialist Dr. Merle Myerson discusses the lifestyle changes you should implement after having a heart attack. Watch Dr. Myerson's video for important tips and information about heart health.


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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.