Being Healthy After a Heart Attack Adds More than Seven Years to Life

When you have a significant health setback, it’s very easy to feel a little helpless. But, it’s never too late to make changes, and they can make a big difference in your future health. While it’s understandable to feel like you’ve hit a “point of no return,” you shouldn’t give up!

Making improvements in your lifestyle and following your medical regime from your doctor can add more than seven years to your life after a heart attack. The problem is, most people don’t make improvements in their health. A study with more than 3,200 heart attack patients found two percent had their blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol at healthy levels a year after their incident. Sixty-five percent had poor cholesterol levels, and 40 percent had high blood pressure. Forty-five percent of people weren’t exercising enough, and 79 percent of the people in the study were overweight.  

Most of the people in the study were taking medication for cholesterol, blood pressure or blood clots. ( The researchers said that points to the possibility that medication alone may not be enough to turn health around. Or, it’s possible they weren’t taking the correct dosage or combination. And, they said that it underscores the importance of lifestyle changes.

But, lifestyle changes are hard. Medication is easy to incorporate into your day; lifestyle takes more time and work. Without support, it can be lonely and hard to stick to. And, it can be frightening to exercise after a heart attack; a person might worry that they aren’t healthy enough to do it. “I’m an enormous fan of cardiac rehab,” said Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, president of the American Heart Association. “Cardiac rehab gets patients into a monitored setting where they can learn to trust their bodies again.”

Quitting smoking, exercising more and eating healthier is much easier if you have a partner to work with. Having a family member — or your whole family — get in on taking new steps can make it feel more fun and less stressful.

Researchers used mathematical modeling to learn that if all of a person’s risk factors were perfectly controlled after a heart attack, they would gain 7.4 years after a heart attack. Knowing that could make a massive difference to how a person approaches recovery as well as prevention. Take of your health to avoid heart problems in the future, and should you have a heart attack, know that recovery is possible. You can be healthy and productive with a great lifestyle and a proper medical routine after a heart attack.   

Banner image: KBO Bike via Unsplash
September 03, 2021

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