Knowing what to ask your cardiologist after your heart attack will help you overcome the traumatic experience and live a healthy life.
Every year, 805,000 people in the U.S. suffer a heart attack. If you’ve had a heart attack, you understand what a traumatic, life-changing event it is, but you’re not alone!
Upon recovering, it’s natural to have many questions, including how to prevent another attack. That’s why the first appointment with your cardiologist after a heart attack is so necessary. Below, we’ve outlined some helpful questions to ask your doctor, so you’ll better understand what lies ahead and how to live a healthier lifestyle.
Seven questions to ask your cardiologist after a heart attack
By working with your doctor on a treatment plan, you can overcome your concerns and get a clearer picture of your future. These seven questions should clarify what to expect as you recover from your heart attack.
What caused my heart attack? Heart attacks occur when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted or blocked. In most cases, heart attacks are caused by arteries narrowed by plaque. However, each case is different. Your doctor will review what caused your heart attack so that they can develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Will I need to take medication? You’ll need to take medication following your heart attack. Your doctor will prescribe different medicines based on your situation, such as blood thinners, cholesterol-lowering drugs, beta-blockers, or calcium-channel blockers. You may be given a combination of medications, and the dosage and/or medications may change according to your health checkups.
Will I need surgery? Your doctor may perform thrombolysis to stabilize your health immediately after a heart attack. While at the hospital, your doctor will inject a clot-dissolving agent into the blocked artery. Afterward, your doctor may recommend a coronary angioplasty to open the arteries. A balloon-like device is inserted into the artery to eliminate the blockage during this procedure. A stent may be placed to keep the artery open and the blood flowing. Another option is a coronary artery bypass, which repositions the arteries. Blood can then bypass the blocked arteries, allowing your heart to get the blood it needs.
When can I return to work? The American Heart Association recommends a rest period of between two weeks to three months, depending upon the severity of your heart attack. Also, you should take into consideration your stress level at work. If it’s very stressful, you should think about lowering your stress to protect your heart.
Can I exercise again? Your doctor will set a timeline for when you can start to exercise again. They will tell you to go slowly at first and to stop when you feel fatigued. A cardiac rehabilitation program can help you safely ramp up your workouts with specified, safe exercises.
Will I have to change my diet? Your diet is just as crucial as your medications in helping you recover and preventing another attack. Your cardiologist will advise you to follow a heart-healthy diet to clear your arteries of plaque buildup. This means a diet of lean meats, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Will I have another heart attack? Having one heart attack puts you at risk of another. By changing your diet, taking your medications, and following your doctor’s recommendations, you can significantly reduce your chances of a second heart attack and live a healthy, fulfilling life.
We’re the heart specialists
The period after your heart attack is a stressful time. The cardiologists at Tri-City Cardiology have helped hundreds of patients recover from heart attacks and can guide you through every step of your recovery journey. Contact us today for a consultation.