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Heart Disease Health Center

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Heart Attacks and Heart Disease

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How Are Future Heart Attacks Prevented? continued...

Why Do I Need to Take Drugs After a Heart Attack?

Drugs are prescribed after a heart attack to:

  • Prevent future blood clots
  • Lessen the work of your heart and improve your heart's performance and recovery
  • Prevent plaques by lowering cholesterol

Other drugs may be prescribed if needed. These include medications to treat irregular heartbeats, lower blood pressure, control angina, and treat heart failure.

It is important to know the names of your medications, what they are used for, and how often and at what times you need to take them. Your doctor or nurse should review your medications with you. Keep a list of your medications and bring them to each of your doctor visits. If you have questions about them, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

What Lifestyle Changes Are Needed After a Heart Attack?

There is no cure for coronary artery disease. In order to prevent the progression of heart disease and another heart attack, you must follow your doctor's advice and make necessary lifestyle changes -- quitting smoking, lowering your blood cholesterol, controlling your diabetes and high blood pressure, following an exercise plan, maintaining an ideal body weight, and controlling stress.

When Will I See My Doctor Again After I Leave the Hospital?

Make a doctor's appointment for four to six weeks after you leave the hospital following a heart attack. Your doctor will want to check the progress of your recovery. Your doctor may ask you to undergo diagnostic tests such as an exercise stress test at regular intervals. These tests can help your doctor diagnose the presence or progression of blockages in your coronary arteries and plan treatment.

Call your doctor sooner if you have symptoms such as chest pain that becomes more frequent, increases in intensity, lasts longer, or spreads to other areas; shortness of breath, especially at rest; dizziness, or irregular heartbeats.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on April 11, 2015
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