7 Lifestyle Changes You Should Make After a Heart Attack
Suffering from a heart attack can be truly intimidating. It can be a life-altering event, but it doesn’t mean that you should stop leading a fulfilling life. Once a person suffers from a heart attack, it serves as a wake-up call for him. Suddenly, one would want to make all the necessary lifestyle changes that would allow them to lead a healthy life.
Making certain lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of further heart attacks. Here we will talk about 7 such changes that can turn your life around for good.
Before we talk about these changes, let us first take a look at the reasons responsible for a heart attack.
What Causes A Heart Attack?
A cardiac arrest can take place because of multiple reasons. Mostly, it occurs because of a sedentary lifestyle that involves very little or no physical activity. The kinds of food that you put into your body are also one of the factors that govern your health.
Eating a lot of oily foods can make you prone to a heart attack. Just like these, several other reasons can put your heart health at risk.
Let’s take a look at those reasons.
1. Coronary Artery Disease
CAD is the major cause of heart attack among most people. This disease occurs when coronary arteries become narrow or blocked due to the buildup of cholesterol and plaque.
Since these arteries are responsible for supplying blood to your heart, the accumulation of cholesterol and plaque disrupts the blood supply. Thus, a person can suffer a heart attack.
2. High Blood Pressure
A problem of high blood pressure, or hypertension, is often responsible for a cardiac arrest. High BP can put excessive strain on the heart.
Smoking tobacco damages blood vessels. It also decreases oxygen in the blood and raises the risk of blood clots. All of these issues can lead to a heart attack.
4. High Cholesterol
Elevated levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol can accumulate plaque in the arteries. Such an accumulation can narrow the arteries and increase the risk of a heart attack.
5. Obesity And Poor Diet
A diet high in saturated and trans fat can contribute to obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
People with diabetes are at a higher risk for heart attacks due to the way the disease affects blood vessels and cholesterol levels. Therefore, it's important for them to learn about what to eat and not eat with diabetes.
7. Physical Inactivity
A sedentary lifestyle can lead to obesity and other risk factors for heart attacks.
Chronic stress can increase your blood pressure and also contribute to unhealthy behaviors like overeating or smoking.
9. Illegal Drug Use
Drugs like cocaine can cause coronary artery spasms. Drug usage can increase the risk of heart attacks.
10. Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, and other heart-related problems.
As people age, their risk of heart attack generally increases.
7 Lifestyle Changes That Are Necessary After Heart Attack
Here are some lifestyle changes that you can implement to lead a healthier life after you suffer from a heart attack.
1. Modify Your Diet
What you put into your body has a lot to do with the health problems you develop at any stage of your life. Therefore, you must always try to make healthy dietary choices. And once you go through the trauma of a heart attack, the best way to recover is to eat a balanced and healthy diet.
Let’s tell you how to make your diet heart-healthy.
Try to incorporate as many fruits and vegetables in your diet as you possibly can. By eating fruits and vegetables, you will be able to provide your body with the required vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Go on a diet that is low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium.
Eat more whole grains and lean protein.
Monitor your sodium intake because consuming a large amount of sodium can affect your blood pressure levels.
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can support your heart health. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like salmon and walnuts. So, you can include these foods in your diet regularly.
2. Exercise More
A lack of physical activity is another major cause of cardiac arrest. So, to become healthier, you should try to move more. But since you already suffered a heart attack, start slow.
Here’s how you can incorporate exercise into your lifestyle:
Consult your healthcare expert before you try to begin exercising.
Begin with light-weight exercises. You can increase the intensity slowly as you start getting comfortable.
Indulge in aerobic exercises as they are good for your heart health. Aerobics can improve the blood flow to your heart. Brisk walking, swimming, and cycling are the best aerobic exercises.
After building some endurance, you must also include strength training in your exercise regime. Strength training will work and build your muscles to improve your overall fitness levels.
3. Quit Smoking
Smoking is the worst of all things you can do to put yourself at risk of a heart attack. If you smoke, the best way to recover after a cardiac arrest would be to quit. It can be hard, but is worth the effort if you want to lead a healthy life.
Once you quit smoking, your risk of heart disease will reduce over time. The probability of suffering from stroke also decreases. Your lung function will improve. Quitting smoking will allow you to get rid of the risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases.
If you find it too hard to quit smoking, you can:
Opt for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT products, such as nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges, can help reduce withdrawal symptoms from your body. They can aid you in smoking cessation.
Consult your physician if you think you would need some prescribed medications to help you quit.
Get some behavioral support by opting for therapy and counseling. A counselor might be able to help you come up with strategies that are effective in resisting the urge to smoke.
4. Follow Your Medication Regime
After suffering from a heart attack, you should listen to your physician and follow the medication that he suggests. Following your medication regime will allow you to monitor your blood pressure and cholesterol.
5. Manage Your Stress
Stress is also one of the contributing factors to a heart attack. Therefore, it is essential to work on stress management as soon as you start recovering.
There are several stress management techniques that you can incorporate into your lifestyle.
First, try some meditation. Meditating every day will calm your mind and relieve you from stress.
You can also opt for yoga. Yogic practices will support your heart health and change your life for good. Practicing yoga every day will also make you more aware of yourself.
Breathing exercises are also helpful in managing stress.
6. Keep Your Weight In Check
Excess body weight, especially when concentrated around the abdomen, can contribute to various risk factors for heart disease. But if you manage your weight, you will not only reduce the possibility of a heart attack, but you will witness many positive benefits of losing weight.
By shedding excess pounds, you can lower your blood pressure. So, there will be less strain on your heart and improved blood flow.
You will also witness lower cholesterol levels once you lose the extra kilos.
Overweight people are more susceptible to sleep apnea. By reducing your body fat, you will also reduce the risk of sleep apnea.
Obesity can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomegaly) and decreased heart function. So, it is essential to lose weight to avoid this condition.
Also, you will end up improving your overall fitness and quality of life once you get into shape.
To manage your weight, you must exercise regularly and eat what’s right for your body and heart.
7. Visit Your Medical Practitioner Regularly
Finally, visit your medical practitioner regularly so that he can detect the risks of any future heart attacks early. Most people skip following up with their physician until it's too late. And since you’ve already gone through the excruciating pain of a heart attack, it is important that you get yourself checked regularly.
Only your doctor can monitor your health in the best way possible. Get your medical practitioner’s advice on what’s best for your health. Follow such recommendations to enjoy living a healthy life.
A heart attack can change your perception of life. But this life-altering event carries an opportunity for transformative change. Bringing in some lifestyle changes will allow you to pave the way for remarkable improvements in your heart health and well-being.
These 7 changes hold the power to reshape your future. Consider the heart attack as a wake-up call. Feel lucky that you have the remarkable opportunity to rewrite the narrative of your life. And above all, don’t feel disheartened because of any health concern as you're not bouncing back.
You're only emerging stronger by making these lifestyle changes. Implementing these changes in your routine will make you more aware and ready to embrace each moment of your life with positivity.