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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:

After a heart attack
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  • 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.

Posted 09.09.2010

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