Heart Attacks Often a 'Wake-Up Call'
Many Heart Attack Survivors Upgrade Health Habits, Feel Emotional Toll
WebMD News Archive
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 them:
- 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 emotionally.
- 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 exercised.
Mental and emotional challenges were common after heart attacks. Those findings include:
- More than half -- 60% -- reported feeling depressed after their heart attacks.
- Around three-quarters voiced concern that they wouldn't be able to do favorite activities.
- 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.