With heart disease being the leading killer in the United States how we manage and maintain our heart health everyday is extremely important. More than 800 people experience a cardiac episode everyday – knowing how to reclaim your life after sudden cardiac arrest can decrease the likelihood of relapse. Taking these five steps can help you live a heart healthy life.
1.) Don’t Waste Time
Recovering from a cardiac episode can be trying in more ways than one. Depending on the severity of your episode you could spend two days to a few weeks in the hospital – but your lifestyle changes don’t have to wait. Requesting as much information from your doctor while you’re still in the hospital decreases the number of unanswered questions you will have when you get home. It’s not uncommon for your doctor change or add to your medication, if this is the case make sure you’re asking the right questions to ensure you can repeat the process when you’re discharged. Know what you’re taking and how if effects your body to put the power of how healthy your heart is into your own hands.
2.) Reduce Stress
Suffering any serious trauma, such as sudden cardiac arrest, can have more than just physical side effects. Emotions such as anger, fear, and anxiety are normal after a cardiac episode and can last two to six months following the episode. Patients who experience these emotions are recommended to seek the help of a mental health specialist to help transition back to a normal life. Due to the nature of stress and the multitude of ways it can affect your body, it is important to be able to manage your stress levels if you’re attempting to live a heart healthy life. A few ways you can take control of your stress is by implementing positive self-talk, relaxation, stress stoppers, and pleasure into your daily routine. Stressors differ from person to person, knowing what your stressors are is an important step to decreasing your change of suffering another cardiac arrest. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, binge eating, alcoholism, and smoking – all of which are detrimental to your heart health. Making healthy stress management a habit in your everyday life will go a long way.
3.) Manage Your Blood Pressure
With no signs or symptoms high blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as the silent killer. Over time HBP will increase your risk of suffering a cardiac episode by damaging your arteries. In addition to routine visits to your physician, studies have shown that monitoring your own blood pressure at home is beneficial to your recovery. Along with monitoring your blood pressure, charting has also been known to help improve your knowledge and understanding of your blood pressure. Keeping a daily chart of your blood pressure eliminates false readings and allows you to map your BP over an extended period. Although high blood pressure has no cure, it can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication, if needed. Make sure to talk to your doctor before starting any medications.
4.) Manage Other Risk Factors
Managing any other diseases or risk factors is equally as important. If you have diabetes managing that in a responsible, health way will have a direct impact on your heart health. Keeping your blood sugar in check and talking to your doctor about any additional medications will help you stay on top of your diabetes. Obesity is another risk factor that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest. The excess fat and buildup in your body isn’t solely aesthetic when it comes to obesity. The more buildup you have in your arteries the higher your likelihood of experiencing a sudden cardiac episode. Exercise and diet are not only helpful in your fight again obesity and heart disease, they are key to living a heart healthy life.
5.) Focus on the Future
Don’t let having a sudden cardiac attack take away your future. Living a heart healthy life is the best way to fight off the changes of having another attack. Your heart, like any other muscle, gets stronger the more you use it due to this many hospitals have a cardiac rehabilitation program. If your hospital does not have a cardiac rehabilitation program, your doctor can refer you to a heart center that runs one. These programs can be broken down into three vital parts: exercise, classes on how to lower your risk of further problems, and support for dealing with the stress and anxiety you may or may not be experiencing. All the previously mentioned programs help patients learn how to improve their heart function and lower their heart rate. Giving you the tools to take your life, and your freedom, back after your sudden cardiac attack.
There are many ways to make living a heart healthy life, making these changes habit will take time but they can help save your life. Your life doesn’t and shouldn’t end after you experience sudden cardiac arrest.