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A heart attack allows you to get a double take on life. Once you survive it, you tend to realize how close your brush with death has been and how important your lifestyle choices can be. Most people go on to live a productive life after a heart attack provided they can adhere to making healthy choices.
Here's what you can do if you have experienced your first attack and want to change for the better:
1. Start at the hospital: A person usually stays in the hospital for 3 days after an attack to monitor their condition. This duration increases if you have complications that involve procedures like a bypass surgery. Your first significant change will come to your medication routine. Your existing dosages may be adjusted and you'll possibly prescribed newer medicines that will treat and control your symptoms. You'll not only need to know the names of all your medicines but when you have to take them. Its best you know exactly why are taking each of them, if there are other more economic alternatives since this may last a lifetime and what side effects they may have.
2. Maintaining your mental health: Once bitten, twice shy applies for heart attack victims too. Not only do they live in a constant worry about another attack, every small symptom like a harmless muscle pull can trigger the fear factor. You also get into the "heart patient" dependent mode based on how much help you need to recover. Check for support groups and other heart attack survivors in your locality to see how they are coping. Read more about your recovery and try to keep a positive frame of mind.
3. Go for cardiac rehab: Many hospitals have a rehabilitation program that you can participate in as an outpatient or you can go to a clinic that specializes in it. Such programs help speed up your recovery. It is run by people who will hand hold you in bringing positive changes in your life to protect and strengthen your heart. You'll learn activities that positively improve heart functions and reduce your chances of developing complications or dying from heart disease. You'll also benefit from exercises that'll be taught by a certified exercise specialist.
4. Making lifestyle changes: Quitting smoking is an obvious one. You'll now have to lead a more active lifestyle with daily exercise. You'll also need to actively manage your diabetes and obesity. None of these changes can happen in a day. In fact, behavioural scientists suggest that you need to practice a new activity continuously for twenty one days for it to become a habit.