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    Heart Attack Causes and Treatments

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    Conventional Response to a Heart Attack continued...

    Long-term recovery from heart attack requires psychological and lifestyle adjustments. Habits that need to go include

    • Smoking
    • Heavy drinking
    • Eating high-fat foods.
    • Being inactive and sedentary.

    As a preventive measure, most heart attack survivors take a daily aspirin tablet to thin the blood. Other drugs may also be prescribed, depending on the patient.

    Some patients need invasive procedures to improve blood flow to the heart over the long term. The two most common procedures are:

    • Angioplasty -- a catheter technique that widens clogged arteries by breaking up plaques
    • Coronary bypass surgery, which diverts blood flow around clogged arteries

    Lifestyle After a Heart Attack

    Regular aerobic exercise greatly improve the chances of preventing or recovering from a heart attack. If you already have a heart condition, schedule a stress test before beginning an exercise program. The test can help to determine how much exertion is safe.

    Heart attack survivors are advised to exercise with other people rather than alone during the first months of recovery. Many community health and recreation centers offer physician-supervised cardiovascular rehabilitation programs.

    Mind/Body Medicine After a Heart Attack

    Reducing stress may be one of the risk factors that you can control to help prevent a heart attack and aid recovery. Many techniques promote relaxation -- among them, meditation, biofeedback, and yoga. Relaxation has also been shown to provide relief from pain, which may be encountered during the recovery period.

    People with a positive attitude about recovery tend to do much better. You may find that a particular mind/body technique helps you to focus on positive thoughts. You may also find, as many others have, that sharing thoughts and emotions with a support group is extremely beneficial.

    Depression is also associated with heart disease. Discuss any signs of depression with your doctor. Untreated depression can interfere with your recovery.

    Nutrition and Diet After a Heart Attack

    The basic goals of a heart-healthy diet are to keep salt, sugar, and saturated fat to a minimum to control cholesterol, blood pressure, and weight. Eating magnesium-rich foods such as nuts, beans, bran, fish, and dark green vegetables may help prevent a heart attack. Magnesium protects the heart directly and indirectly, by stabilizing heart rate, reducing coronary artery spasm, and combating such conditions as atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.

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