A heart attack is a terrifying, life-changing event. Heart attack survivors share one commonality: the overwhelming priority to make sure it never happens again. Thankfully, there are some lifestyle changes you can make following a heart attack to maximize safety, health, and wellbeing, and allow you to fully enjoy life.
How to Prevent Another Heart Attack
As many as one in five seniors who recover from one heart attack will experience another within five years. Taking these steps can help you join the other 80% who prevent a second episode:
- Minimize Stress. Stress can serve as the launching pad for a variety of unhealthy lifestyle choices: smoking, alcohol or drug abuse, unhealthy eating, and more. Find healthy outlets for stress reduction, such as exercise, getting plenty of rest, and taking time for activities you enjoy. If carving out time for self-care is challenging, partnering with a professional home care agency, like Nightingale Homecare, can help!
- Watch Cholesterol. There are two types of cholesterol: good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL). Naturally, you’ll want to strive for higher levels of HDL and lower levels of LDL, but there are other factors the doctor will take into account when reviewing your total cholesterol level. The important thing is to get cholesterol checked on a regular basis, and follow the doctor’s orders to keep it in a healthy range, either through a combination of dietary and physical activity changes, or medication if needed.
- Monitor Blood Pressure. Ideally, your blood pressure should be lower than 120/80 mmHg. You can help control blood pressure by staying physically active, following a healthy diet that’s low in sodium, and taking blood pressure medications if prescribed by the doctor. Check your blood pressure often, at home or at a local pharmacy, and let the doctor know right away if your numbers are elevated.
- Maintain a Healthy BMI. Obesity is a major concern in the U.S. It can raise your risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. The best way to keep your weight in a healthy range is by exercising regularly – at least 150 minutes per week, or as recommended by the doctor – and making good nutritional choices. Your diet should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy and proteins.
Nightingale Homecare, a top provider of Phoenix senior home care throughout the nearby areas, is here to help older adults live healthy lives in a variety of ways. Our Pathlink Chronic Disease Self-Management program provides coaching to help seniors improve heart health and better manage any other health conditions. We offer a full range of nursing and non-medical in-home care services as well to improve quality of life.