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Heart Disease and Heart Attacks

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

Medications are prescribed after a heart attack to:

  • Prevent future blood clots.
  • Lessen the heart's workload and improve its performance and recovery.
  • Limit plaques by lowering cholesterol.

Other drugs may be prescribed if needed. These include medications to treat irregular heartbeats, lower blood pressure, control chest pain, 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, 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 this disease, you must follow your doctor's advice and make necessary lifestyle changes. You can stop smoking, treat your blood cholesterol, control your diabetes and high blood pressure, follow an exercise plan, maintain an ideal body weight, and control stress.

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

Make a doctor's appointment for two to six weeks after leaving the hospital. Your doctor will want to check the progress of your recovery. She may ask you to undergo diagnostic tests (such as an exercise stress test or echocardiogram 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, shortness of breath -- especially at rest, dizziness, or irregular heartbeats.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on January 16, 2015
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