As a thoracic surgeon, Dr. Zachary F. Solomon knows that more than 800,000 people a year in America suffer heart attacks. Remarkably, about a fourth of the people who suffer a heart attack have experienced a cardiac episode in the past. Dr. Zachary F. Solomon wants to help as many people as possible avoid the critical risks of multiple heart attacks. Today’s article will touch on a few lifestyle changes people can make after a heart attack to reduce their risk of multiple cardiac arrests.
Anyone who survives a heart attack needs to put a renewed emphasis on what they eat daily. Dr. Zachary F. Solomon recommends utilizing an app to track caloric intake. Working with a physician, a target calorie count can be assigned to help one lose the weight they need to reduce stress levels on the heart. To make the most out of the calories people consume, they should avoid trans-fat, saturated fats, and foods high in sodium. If possible, desserts, sodas, and red meat should also be cut out of a diet.
Certain foods have been linked to improving heart health. These foods include:
- Whole Grains
- Leafy Greens
- Chia Seeds
Dr. Zachary F. Solomon notes that the foods above should improve energy levels, which is crucial when returning to an active lifestyle. Cardiovascular exercise can make an immediate impact on heart health. It’s also a great way to reduce stress and boost mood. The movement will need to be monitored after a heart attack, so consult a doctor before starting an exercise routine. Eventually, Dr. Zachary F. Solomon believes people should look to work out at least four days a week with activities like running, hiking, bodyweight exercises, strength training, or even a sport. One of the great things about getting active is that no one is restricted to just one exercise program. Dr. Zachary F. Solomon recommends trying out different exercises and activities to ensure they find an activity they enjoy so it is easier to stick with for the long haul.
It also should go without saying, but Dr. Zachary F. Solomon notes that all smokers must find a way to quit after suffering a heart attack. While he never recommends smoking cigarettes or cigars, the negative impact of smoking is only amplified for those with heart health issues. Many patients claim they smoke to relieve stress, but there are more common links to increased stress due to smoking. Alcohol consumption should either be cut out or significantly monitored.
Stress and negativity are two of the biggest mental enemies in the wake of a heart attack. It’s nearly impossible to make the necessary changes in the kitchen or gym if a person has a negative attitude. One of the best ways to shift one’s mental state is to surround oneself with positive influences. A robust support system can make a world of difference. Sometimes, the best motivation is finding one’s purpose for fighting back. Whether a person has family that they want to spend more time with or career aspirations, a strong motivating factor is a great resource. Meditation is another fantastic option for boosting mental health and controlling feelings of anxiety or depression.
Finally, Dr. Zachary F. Solomon recommends that all lifestyle changes are not considered short-term solutions. These are changes being made that will become the new norm for the rest of a person’s life. Although the changes can appear overwhelming at the start, once a person finds a routine and begins to feel better, the changes will become that much easier to stick with.