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.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.

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