Coming home after a heart
attack may be unsettling. Your hospital stay may have seemed too short. You may
be nervous about being home without doctors and nurses after being so closely
watched in the hospital.
But you have had tests that tell your doctor that
it is safe for you to return home. Now that you're home, you can take steps to live a healthy lifestyle to reduce the chance of having another heart attack.
Do cardiac rehab
Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) teaches you how to be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health.
If you don't do a cardiac rehab program, you will still need to learn about
lifestyle changes that can lower your risk of another heart attack. These changes include quitting smoking, eating heart-healthy foods,
and being active. For more information on lifestyle changes, see the Prevention section of this topic.
Learn healthy habits
lifestyle changes can reduce your chance of another heart attack. Quitting
smoking, eating a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet, and getting regular
exercise are the most important steps you can take. For more information, see:
- Interactive Tool: Are You Ready to Quit Smoking?
- Heart Disease: Eating a Heart-Healthy Diet.
- Heart Disease: Exercising for a Healthy Heart.
- Comparing Heart-Healthy Diets(What is a PDF document?).
For more information on how to make healthy lifestyle
changes, see the Prevention section of this topic.
Tell your doctor
about any chest pain or discomfort (angina) you
have after a heart attack.
Many people have stable angina that can be relieved with rest or nitroglycerin.
For tips on managing angina see:
Depression and heart disease are linked. People who have heart disease are more likely to get depressed. And if you have both depression and heart disease, you may not stay as healthy as possible. This can make depression and heart disease worse.
If you think you may have depression, talk to your doctor. Take this short quiz to check your symptoms:
- Interactive Tool: Are You Depressed?
For more information, see
Stress and anger can also hurt your heart.
They might make your symptoms worse. Try different ways to reduce stress, such as exercise, deep breathing, meditation, or
yoga. For more tips on how to manage stress, see the topic Positive Thinking With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy.
Have sex when you're ready
You may be afraid to resume sexual activity after a heart attack. But it's not true that resuming sex after a heart attack can cause another heart
attack, stroke, or sudden death. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns. But you can resume sexual activity as soon as you
feel ready for it.