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Heart Attack and Unstable Angina - Treatment Overview

Other treatment in the hospital

After a heart attack, you will stay in the hospital for at least a few days. Your doctors and nurses will watch you closely. They will check your heart rate and rhythm, blood pressure, and medicines to make sure you don't have serious complications.

Your doctors will start you on medicines that lower your risk of having another heart attack or having complications and that help you live longer after your heart attack. You may have already been taking some of these medicines. They include:

You will take these medicines for a long time, maybe the rest of your life.

After you go home from the hospital, take all of your medicines correctly. Do not stop taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to. If you stop taking your medicine, you might raise your risk of having another heart attack.

Cardiac rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation might be started in the hospital or soon after you go home. It's an important part of your recovery after a heart attack. Cardiac rehab teaches you how to be more active and make lifestyle changes that can lead to a stronger heart and better health. Cardiac rehab can help you feel better and reduce your risk of future heart problems.

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.

Quitting smoking is part of cardiac rehab. Medicines and counseling can help you quit for good. People who continue to smoke after a heart attack are much more likely than nonsmokers to have another heart attack. When a person quits, the risk of another heart attack decreases a lot in the first year after stopping smoking.

Go to your doctor visits

Your doctor will want to closely watch your health after a heart attack. Be sure to keep all your appointments. Tell your doctor about any changes in your condition, such as changes in chest pain, weight gain or loss, shortness of breath with or without exercise, and feelings of depression.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 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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