Heart Attacks Often a 'Wake-Up Call'
Many Heart Attack Survivors Upgrade Health Habits, Feel Emotional Toll
Dec. 9, 2005 -- Most heart attack survivors consider their heart attacks a
"wake-up call," a new poll shows.
In the poll, heart attack survivors mention new priorities, better health
habits, and strong emotions including , which has been shown to be
dangerous for heart attack survivors.
In addition, 40% admitted that they weren't doing everything they could to
prevent another heart attack.
About the Poll
The online poll was conducted in October by Harris Interactive for Mended
Hearts, a nationwide support group for heart patients.
The poll was taken by 518 heart attack survivors. They answered questions
about life after a heart attack.
Most participants were men, whites, and patients who had had one heart
attack. On average, they were in their early- to mid-60s.
Second Chance at Life
Most survivors indicated that their heart attacks had deeply affected
- 90% called their heart attack a "wake-up call" that made them face
their own mortality.
- Nearly 80% noted that their heart attack had affected them
- 85% reported feeling that they had gotten a second chance at life.
Many reported making changes in their personal lives:
- More than half (55%) mentioned re-evaluating their priorities.
- Half mentioned spending more time with family and friends.
- About a third reported doing things they had put off in the past.
Healthy habits were also widely noted. For instance, 71% said they ate
healthy foods, 67% said they avoided tobacco, and nearly half said they
Mental and emotional challenges were common after heart attacks. Those
- More than half -- 60% -- reported feeling depressed after their heart
- Around three-quarters voiced concern that they wouldn't be able to do
- Fear of another heart attack was reported by 63%.
In fact, fear of having another heart attack was the top-ranked fear of
survivors. Fear of dying was farther down the list, after fear of sharks,
heights, and public speaking.
The poll was funded by drug company GlaxoSmithKline, according to a news
release. GlaxoSmithKline is a WebMD sponsor.