Self-help: Life after a heart attack
Making changes in your lifestyle after a heart attack can help to speed your recovery and to reduce the risk of another attack:
- Stop smoking. This is the single most important factor in preventing a further attack.
- Eat a healthy diet and try to keep your weight within the ideal range for your height and build (see Diet and health).
- If you drink alcohol, take only moderate amounts. You should have no more than 1-2 small glasses of wine or beer a day.
- Together with your doctor, agree on a programme of increasing exercise until you are able to engage in moderate exercise, such as swimming regularly, for 30 minutes or more at a time.
After a period of recovery, you can make a gradual return to your normal daily routine:
- You will probably be able to return to work within 8-12 weeks, or sooner if you have a desk job. You might consider working part-time at first.
- Try to avoid stressful situations.
- You should be able to drive a car within 4 weeks.
- You can resume having sexual intercourse about 4 weeks after a heart attack.
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