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Heart Health, Cardiology: Ongoing Treatment After A Heart Attack  Previous Next

Ongoing Treatment After A Heart Attack

by: Stephanie Trelogan

Other important lifestyle changes to make include eating a heart-healthy diet, managing stress and depression, and using medications as appropriate.

Follow a low-fat, low-sodium diet. The AHA offers specific dietary guidelines for reducing the risk of heart attack:

  • Choose a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, lean meats, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products.

  • Limit fat intake (total fat between 25 and 35 percent of daily calories, saturated fat less than 7 percent, and trans fat less than 1 percent).

  • Limit cholesterol intake (less than 200 milligrams per day if LDL levels are high; less than 300 milligrams per day if they aren't).

  • Limit sodium (less than 1,500 milligrams per day for high blood pressure, less than 2,300 milligrams per day otherwise).

  • Eat dietary fiber -- 25 to 30 grams every day.

  • Limit alcohol consumption -- women should consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day; men no more than two.

Manage stress and depression. A person's emotional and psychological state can have a very real effect on his physical health. An important way to maintain good cardiovascular health and avoid heart attack is by minimizing stress, anger, and depression.

  • Encourage a social life. If an older adult lives alone, he may feel disconnected and isolated; even if he lives with someone else, sitting around the house can lead to boredom and unhappiness. Help him get out, make new friends, or simply engage in stimulating activities. A local place of worship or community center is an excellent place to connect with other people in his age group.

  • Keep an eye on his mood. Perhaps he's already a social butterfly but still seems to be having difficulty with stress or depression. Try these stress-busting strategies:- Cut back on caffeinated beverages and alcohol.- Try meditation or yoga.- Play relaxing music.- Go for a walk outdoors.

  • See his doctor. If he has tried everything and still struggles with his mood, he should talk to his doctor. Depression is a serious but treatable illness.

Resources:

About the Author

Stephanie Trelogan is Senior Editor of the Heart, Stroke, and Depression channels. Older people in Stephanie's family have coped with a variety of stroke- and heart-related conditions, and several family membersincluding Stephaniehave struggled with depression.

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