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A heart attack is an extremely scary event for both the patient and their family and often comes with a substantial amount of life changes.  Following a heart attack, you may be overwhelmed with different emotions, feelings, and worries; it’s important to remember that your next steps are going to play a crucial role in your recovery.  If you’ve recently suffered a heart attack, or known someone who has, consider adopting some of these changes into your recovery plan.

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

The first thing to remember is, once you’ve had a heart attack, your chances of experiencing another are increased.  This doesn’t necessarily mean it will happen again; however, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms in case it does.  Luckily, now that you’ve been through it already, you and your family may be a little more knowledgeable and aware than you were prior.  Pay attention to your body, and understand that if something doesn’t feel right, don’t wait it out. Contact your doctor and seek immediate medical attention.  Sometimes slight chest pain following a heart attack, after physical exertion, for example, can happen.  However, that isn’t the case for everyone. If you experience any chest pain after a heart attack, always contact your doctor and make them aware.  If it is severe, do not wait to seek medical attention.

Understand Your Feelings

If you’re experiencing anxiety or depression, know this is quite normal for many patients that have recently experienced a heart attack.  You may feel angry or fear that any small symptom means it’s going to happen again. Talk to your family, your doctor, and consider the option to see a mental health professional.  These feelings are likely normal but can be difficult to manage. With time they should subside; however, it’s best to try and combat them early on, to avoid further issues down the road.

Lose Unhealthy Habits

One of the most essential things you can do during your recovery following a heart attack is making some serious lifestyle changes; eliminate any unhealthy habits you had prior.  If you were a smoker before having a heart attack, you will definitely want to quit as soon as possible. Smoking increases your chances of heart attack drastically. Additionally, you’ll want to adopt healthier diet habits and make sure you’re consuming a high level of heart-healthy foods.  Talk to your doctor about working physical activity into your daily routine; this can not only help control weight and lower blood pressure but also combat any symptoms of depression or anxiety you may be experiencing.

A heart attack is a life-altering event; however, making specific changes can help you get through your recovery, and be on your way to a healthy and happy life.