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Heart Attack Recovery

Know How and When to Seek Medical Attention

Having a heart attack increases your chances of having another one. Therefore, it is important that you and your family know how and when to seek medical attention. Talk to your doctor about making an emergency action plan, and discuss it with your family as well. The plan should include:
  • The signs and symptoms of a heart attack
  • Instructions for the prompt use of aspirin and nitroglycerin
  • How to access emergency medical services in your community
  • The location of the nearest hospital that offers 24-hour emergency heart care.
Many heart attack survivors also have chest pain (angina). The pain usually occurs after exertion and goes away in a few minutes when you rest or take your angina medicine as directed. In a heart attack, the pain is usually more severe than angina, and it does not go away when you rest or take your medicine. If you are unsure whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.
Unfortunately, most heart attack victims wait two hours or more after their symptoms begin before they seek medical help. This delay can result in death or lasting heart damage.

Final Thoughts

For those who survive a heart attack, it is sobering, yet important, to realize that the condition of your blood vessels will steadily worsen unless you make changes in your daily habits. Many people die of complications from heart disease or become permanently disabled. That's why it is so vital to take action to control this serious condition.
The good news is that you can control heart disease. There is much you can do to manage your heart condition, reduce your risk for a repeat heart attack, and improve your chances of living a long, rewarding life. The sooner you get started with your heart attack recovery, the better your chances of feeling better, staying well, and avoiding further heart problems.
Ask for support from family and friends. Keep in touch with your doctor. Make new, heart-healthy lifestyle choices, one healthful habit at a time. Above all, be patient with yourself. You're on a new life path -- one that requires courage, awareness, and persistence.
If you try your best to stay on that path, making a daily commitment to take good care of yourself and your heart, you're likely to discover what millions of others have learned: You can live a full, rewarding life following a heart attack.
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Heart Attack Info

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