Heart attack

Messages to others

We asked the people we interviewed what advice they would give to others who have had a heart attack. Here is what they said'

  • It's not as bad as you first think. You can recover and you can have a good life after a heart attack
  • You can do a lot to help yourself recover 
  • Go to cardiac rehabilitation classes. It will help you to feel confident about what you can and cannot do.
  • There may be limitations to what you can do but you can still have a good life
  • Follow the advice of your doctors, take your medicine, and do all you can to prevent another heart attack 
  • Try not to dwell on what's happened; be positive and look forward
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  • Support from your partner and your family are very important in your recovery; involve them as much as possible
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  • Don't try to cope alone. See a counsellor if you need help with recovering from the emotional impact of your heart attack
  • Set yourself goals during your recovery
  • Keep your cholesterol level low and exercise as much as you can. Try to walk as much as possible
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  • Don't smoke - quitting smoking now can prevent you having a heart attack
  • Learn to relax; try Reiki, meditation, Tai Chi or use relaxation tapes 
  • Plan something to look forward to 
  • Make use of all the information and support available
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  • Join a support group even if you think you are not the kind of person who would normally go for that kind of thing
  • Give your body time to recover after bypass surgery
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  • Don't keep your worries to yourself, ask for help
  • Speak up if you feel your needs are not being met
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  • Getting the right combination of medicines may take time. Don't stop taking your medicine if you have side effects. Talk to your doctor and he/she will be able to prescribe a different combination of drugs.
  • Try not to be frightened of having heart surgery - it is a much safer procedure than it used to be
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  • Get the information you need to understand what is happening to you. Don't be frightened to ask your doctor questions
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  • Find out information from your doctor, the cardiac nurses and from other patients 
  • Talk to other heart patients - they can help you to realise that life can be good and you can recover
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  • Accept that there are some things you can't do, make the most of every day and enjoy life 
  • If you think you are having a heart attack or are suffering angina, don't wait until your symptoms get worse. Get medical help as quickly as possible. The quicker you receive treatment the better your chances of surviving and recovering.

Last reviewed March 2013.

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