Health Care Public Health

Ways to Lower Your Risk of a Second Heart Attack

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A heart attack is a life-changing event — one you won’t want to repeat. If you’ve had one, the truth is that you’re at higher risk for a second heart attack. In fact, the American Heart Association estimates that up to one in five heart attack patients will have another cardiac event in the next five years.

That’s why it’s crucial to learn ways to protect your heart. From lifestyle changes to medical treatments, find out how you can reduce your risk of a second heart attack.

Risk Factors for a Second Heart Attack

The saying that “knowledge is power” rings true. The more we know about our risk factors for heart disease, the more we can do to protect our heart health. And understanding your risk factors is an important first step.

Risk factors for a second heart attack are much like those for a first heart attack, including:

  • Diabetes diagnosis
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High stress
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Smoking

How to Prevent a Second Heart Attack

If you’ve had a heart attack, your care team will help you create a care plan that includes ways to strengthen your heart. Following their recommendations and going to your follow-up appointments will go a long way toward keeping you on track for recovery, and helping you steer clear of future cardiac events.

Your doctor might also recommend joining a cardiac rehab program, a proven approach for enhancing your heart health. This personalized program can support your recovery with a supervised exercise plan, education about living a heart-healthy lifestyle and mental and emotional support.

More steps for preventing a second heart attack include:

  • Eating a heart-healthy diet: Many doctors recommend the DASH diet, which encourages eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains while limiting salt and saturated fat.
  • Exercising daily: Work toward 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity, with your doctor’s approval.
  • Getting ongoing support: In addition to your care team, it’s helpful to surround yourself with loved ones who are onboard with supporting your new heart-healthy lifestyle.
  • Keeping stress levels in check: Managing stress is different for everyone. Whether it’s taking a daily stroll through the park or journaling before you go to bed, it’s all about finding what works best for you.
  • Knowing your numbers: By keeping up with primary care and preventive health, your provider will track four vital numbers that are indicative of your heart health.
  • Managing related health conditions: High cholesterol and high blood pressure management is important when it comes to your overall heart health.
  • Taking your medications: Stay on top of your medications and always take them exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Most importantly, know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and seek help immediately if you suspect one.

Don’t Let Another Heart Attack Take You by Surprise

Your heart is in good hands at AdventHealth. We’re here to protect your heart and help you avoid cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes. From cardiac rehab to advanced treatments, find leading-edge cardiovascular care near you.

Learn more. You deserve to feel whole.

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