Did you know that every 40 seconds in the United States, someone has a heart attack? That adds up to around 790,000 heart attacks each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re a part of that statistic, our team at AFC Urgent Care TN wants to offer some tips on keeping your heart healthy after a heart attack.
Maintaining a Healthy Heart
While suffering from a heart attack can put you at an increased risk of experiencing a second heart attack in the future, there are many steps you can take to help protect your heart.
For starters, if you were (or are) a smoker, quit smoking. Smoking wreaks havoc on the entire body, including the heart and its arteries. In fact, quitting smoking is one of the single biggest ways you can prevent heart disease and heart attacks. While some people are able to quit smoking cold turkey, others need the assistance of cessation plans or prescribed medications to help. Talk with your doctor about the strategy that will work best for you and your health.
Second, watch your blood pressure level. Your blood pressure should remain around 120⁄80 mmHg or less to be considered in a normal, healthy range. But if you’ve had a heart attack already, your doctor may even recommend a specific target range for you.
If a physician prescribes blood pressure medication for you after a heart attack, make sure to take the medication as prescribed. Other ways to help lower or maintain your blood pressure include:
- Exercising regularly
- Watching your sodium intake
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Finally, when you are cleared by your physician, make sure you start slow to implement exercise into your daily routine. Exercise can help strengthen your heart, as well as help to reduce your chances of suffering from another heart attack. In many cases following a heart attack, a doctor will prescribe cardiac rehabilitation, which slowly introduces you to physical activity under the supervision of a clinician. If you’re starting to work out on your own, start slowly and build your way up to additional activity. Even a walk around the neighborhood can be beneficial to your heart health.
Do you need regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks following a heart attack? Visit one of our AFC Urgent Care TN locations to get the tests you need to keep your eye on your heart health.