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Heart Disease Health Center

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Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - Life After a Heart Attack

Have sex when you're ready

You can resume sexual activity after a heart attack when you are healthy and feel ready for it. You could be ready if you can do mild or moderate activity, like brisk walking, without having angina symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you have any concerns. Your doctor can help you know if your heart is healthy enough for sex.

If you take a nitrate, like nitroglycerin, do not take erection-enhancing medicines. Combining a nitrate with one of these medicines can cause a life-threatening drop in blood pressure.

Get support

Whether you are recovering from a heart attack or are changing your lifestyle so you can avoid another one, emotional support from friends and family is important. Think about joining a heart disease support group. Ask your doctor about the types of support that are available where you live. Cardiac rehab programs offer support for you and your family. Meeting other people with the same problems can help you know you're not alone.

Take other steps to live healthier

After a heart attack, it's also important to:

  • Take your medicines exactly as directed. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.
  • Keep your blood sugar in your target range if you have diabetes.
  • Get a flu vaccine every year. It can help you stay healthy and may prevent another heart attack.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if you drink. This means having 1 alcoholic drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Seek help for sleep problems. Your doctor may want to check for sleep apnea, a common sleep problem in people who have heart disease. For more information, see the topic Sleep Apnea.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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