7 Mistakes Heart Patients Make

Heart Health Steward Health Care

If you’ve already had a heart attack, you’re at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves, you can reduce that risk. Unfortunately, though, many heart disease patients have mistaken ideas about what’s good for them.

Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same
If your uncle had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. This isn’t the case. Work with your doctor to learn what’s best for you personally. Everyone has different genetics and different risk factors unique to their own lifestyle. It’s important to work with your health care provider, friends, and family, to understand and develop a plan that is appropriate for you.

Mistake 2: Not adopting a healthier lifestyle
Learning to eat better or making time for regular exercise may seem like challenges of a lifetime. Yet, these are some of the best things you can do for a happier, healthier future.

“There are many important steps that can prevent someone from having another heart attack,” says Steward Health Care Interventional Cardiologist Richard Heuser, MD, FACC. “Important steps that can help you prevent a second heart attack include quitting smoking, exercising regularly, eating healthy diet low in fat and calories, controlling your weight, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and diabetes, and checking in with your health care provider on a regular schedule to make sure you remain on track.”

Mistake 3: Staying stuck in grief or depression
As with any major life change experiencing a heart attack can bring on feelings of loss and may require a grieving process. You and your family may need to work through a variety of emotions after your heart attack. If you are overwhelmed with feelings of grief or depression, talk to your doctor about seeking help from a mental health professional.

Mistake 4: Giving up on heart medicines
Don’t stop taking your medicines without talking to your health care provider. Work with your provider to determine what your choices are and what these medicines can do for you in terms of risk versus benefit. Ask for help in choosing the ones that work the best for you, have the fewest side effects and are affordable.

Mistake 5: Tiptoeing around your family
Your loved ones are there to give you as much support as possible, so reach out for their support as you make changes to your lifestyle. And don’t be afraid to make a big deal about your attempts at a healthy lifestyle.

Mistake 6: Shunning exercise
After having a heart attack, many people are worried exercise will overstress their heart, but regular exercise may be one of the best things you can do for your heart. It’s crucial for someone who’s already had a heart attack to exercise properly under the advice of a doctor. Get an exercise program designed just for you, based on your physical condition and your needs and interests. An excellent way to get started is to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Mistake 7: Not “bothering” your doctor with questions
Your health care provider is your greatest partner in your care. Don’t hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns.


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