Healthy tips for life after a heart attack

You experienced the symptoms: discomfort in your chest and/or upper body, sweating, shortness of breath, light-headedness, maybe even nausea. You were rushed to the hospital. You got the diagnosis – a heart attack – and received life-saving treatment. But now what? What can you do to prevent something like this from happening again? Here are six tips to help you lead a healthy life after a heart attack:

Go to cardiac rehab: After a cardiac episode, your physician may refer you to a cardiac rehabilitation program – a specialized program that involves exercise, counselling and education sessions. Cardiac rehab helps heart attack survivors and people with heart disease make important lifestyle changes, become more active and reduce the risk of future problems. For more information on Headwaters’ Cardiac Wellness Program, click here. To find other cardiac rehab programs in Canada, click here .
Be an active participant in your care: You play the most important role in your own care. Go to all your appointments, make a list of any questions you have and keep track of any physical changes you have noticed. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to share your worries or thoughts with your health care team.
Eat well: Healthy eating can help reduce your risk of heart problems. Eat lots of fruits and veggies, choose whole grain options, enjoy a variety of protein, and lay off processed food and sugar-sweetened drinks. Always read the nutrition labels and keep an eye on sodium levels in your food. For more tips on heart-healthy eating, click here.
Get active: Exercise is important to your overall health, especially your heart health. Talk to your health care team about how to incorporate more physical activity into your everyday life.
Maintain a healthy weight: Weight loss is challenging but, by maintaining a healthy body weight, you are creating a heart-healthy lifestyle. Set achievable goals and celebrate your success!
Reduce stress: Learn what causes you to be stressed and find new ways to cope. Maybe going for a walk will help, or writing in a journal. Find out what works for you.