Heart attack. When a doctor utters those two words to you or a loved one, it’s hard to imagine the enormous impact they’ll have on your life from that day forward.
Initially, it’s natural to try to absorb the medical explanation of what just happened and what that means to the health of your heart and your future prognosis. But as the dust settles, questions start to mount: Will I have another heart attack? Will I survive? Will I get to see my children or grandchildren grow up?
Indeed, the days and months after having a heart attack can be challenging and stressful as you do your best to understand the medical implications while cycling through fears and feelings of uncertainty. The good news, says the highly skilled team at Cardio Metabolic Institute, is that for a vast majority of patients, a long, productive life awaits you after a heart attack.
In most cases after being discharged from the hospital following a heart attack, your doctor refers you to a cardiac rehabilitation program. Think of cardiac rehabilitation as that first big step to the ultimate life re-do. Here, you learn how to button up some bad habits and embark on a new journey to a heart-healthy life.
Although your doctor customizes your treatment plan to match your circumstances and lifestyle, cardiac rehabilitation typically focuses on three key areas: fitness and exercise, nutrition, and stress reduction counseling. The keys to successful cardiac rehabilitation are that it’s medically supervised and that it takes a multi-disciplinary wellness approach.
In your life after a heart attack, the elephant in the room is that you need to do your part by becoming an active participant in restoring your heart health. That includes making some sometimes-difficult lifestyle changes. Commit to listening to your doctors and following through on your checkups, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier you.
Embrace the fact that you’re not alone in this challenging journey. In fact, you’re a part of a not-so-exclusive group of women and men of all ages and ethnicities. Each year, 805,000 Americans have a heart attack. Don’t be shy about reaching out for help from your doctor or getting involved in patient support groups.
The effort you expend and the changes that you make in your life through cardiac rehabilitation’s emphasis on fitness, nutrition, and stress reduction are geared toward reducing your risk of a second heart attack.
It may be tough going initially when you realize that your eating habits and physical activity aren’t up to snuff. But it’s so worth it. One clinical research study noted that cardiac rehabilitation helped reduce repeat heart attacks by 47%.
So just say no to that fat-laden fast food burger, and pass up binge watching your favorite show in favor of going out for a walk. Your heart, and family, will thank you for years to come.
Having a heart attack and adjusting to life after a heart attack can definitely be challenging and stressful, but think of it as the ultimate wake-up call. Embrace the opportunity to erase bad health habits and learn how to make better choices. You can count yourself among the lucky ones who survived, and now you have a second chance to live healthier.
If you’ve had a heart attack or another coronary event and want to learn more about cardiac rehabilitation, come see us at Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, or East Brunswick, New Jersey. We can help you begin your new next chapter of your life. Click the “Book online” button or call us today.