About two out of three people survive a heart attack. For these patients, it is very important to avoid a second infarction because the chances of survival in a repeated infarction are significantly lower. Certain risk factors such as genetic predisposition, age or gender can not be changed – but there are a number of other factors that you can influence yourself to reduce the risk of a second heart attack.
Avoid second infarction: First step is cure
Overall, about one third of heart attack patients suffers another infarction. The prognosis of a heart attack depends firstly on how badly the heart was damaged, but also on the behavior and lifestyle of those affected. The first important step after a cardiac arrest has passed is a cure for many patients – a so-called follow-up treatment. This type of rehabilitation should be followed directly by the hospital stay and usually takes three weeks. Studies show that rehabilitation improves the prognosis after a heart attack. In the follow-up treatment, which can also be performed on an outpatient basis, not only the medical treatment is continued and the physical performance is rebuilt, the patient is also informed about risk factors and educated on how he needs to change his lifestyle. Since this is often associated with the task of decades of habits, this is particularly difficult for many heart attack patients.
Take medication regularly and stop smoking
The most important factors to avoid a second heart attack include regular use of prescribed medications and abstinence from smoking. Only a consistent therapy can prevent a second heart attack. However, studies show that patient adherence diminishes approximately one year after the infarction. Five years after the infarct, only a part of the therapy continues consistently.
A second major contributing factor to the onset of another heart attack is smoking.
Healthy lifestyle: heart sports, nutrition and relaxation
But even those who give up smoking and taking his medication regularly, should also pay attention to a healthy lifestyle. This includes :
- regular exercise and sports,
- a healthy, low-salt and low-fat diet and
- the avoidance of stress.
Regular exercise and moderate exercise are healthy for the heart – even after a heart attack. A good start after rehabilitation is offered by so-called heart sports groups, where you can train with other people under medical supervision. But regular exercise in everyday life is important, such as walking, cycling or gardening. In addition, heart sports can also boost confidence in one’s own body, which can help to reduce existing fears.
Overweight, high blood lipid levels and diabetes are risk factors for a heart attack that can be positively influenced by a healthy diet. Recommended for heart attack patients the so-called Mediterranean diet: This contains little meat and (animal) fat, but plenty of fruit and vegetables, regularly fish and in unsaturated fatty acids, such as those contained in olive and rapeseed oil.
Avoiding stress is also essential for heart attack patients if they want to avoid another heart attack. Researchers have shown that chronic stress can clog the arteries. In addition, stress can increase blood pressure, which also increases the risk of another heart attack. Heart attack patients should therefore look at how they can reduce stress in everyday life. It can also be helpful to learn certain techniques in stress management, such as autogenic training, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga or meditation.