The primary concern of many heart attack patients is a recurrence of their heart attack. Keeping up with a schedule of medication may be new to such a patient, but it is a vital part of preventing just such a recurrence. The array of medications that may be new to the patient fresh from their first heart attack are designed to accomplish the following goals:
• Decrease the heart’s workload
• Improve the heart’s pumping capacity
• Treat irregular heartbeats.
• Lower blood pressure.
• Lower cholesterol
• Stave off blood clots
It is important that you understand how all these new things will work to improve and maintain your health. You do have coronary artery disease (CAD), but it can be treated and it can be lived with.
You will be closely monitored by your doctor after a heart attack even though you are back home and possibly taking up some of your familiar old routines. Your most important appointments will be will your doctor or cardiologist. Do not hesitate to inform them if your symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath return or change in some way. Watch for signs of weight gain and depression as well.
Almost 50 per cent of post heart attack patients contend with some sort of serious complication. These include irregular heartbeat, called arrhythmia in general. This condition can manifest as the potentially fatal ventricular tachycardia, (a rapid heart rate) or atrial fibrillation (another type of irregular heartbeat). Patients may even experience heart failure.
Angina (chest pain) is closely associated with heart disease. Your doctor should be kept aware of any angina that occurs after a heart attack. Since angina is such a clear marker for heart trouble and may well be an indication of increased risk of another heart attack don’t be surprised if treatment for suspected underlying heart disease is aggressive and swift.
It is true that patients can exist for years with what is called stable angina. This means your chest pains occur according to a predictable pattern. Nitroglycerin, coupled with rest, can be used to prevent and treat angina and its symptoms with considerable success.
Nitroglycerin is often used on an as needed basis to control angina when it occurs. Place a tablet under your tongue immediately or spray a single dose into the mouth. Nitroglycerin increases blood flow to the heart through blocked or narrow blood vessels.
You should not hesitate to take another tablet if the pain lasts for another five minutes, but also call 911 or access another emergency service if that is convenient. Don’t hang up the phone once you’ve made a connection and await further instructions from the emergency operator.
If you have been prescribed nitroglycerin keep it handy at all times. Stable angina patients are often instructed to take a tablet before physically exerting themselves.
Above all take heart. Countless individual have lived full, productive and happy lives after surviving their first heart attack.