Cardiologist Questions Heart Attack

How can my dad prevent another heart attack?

My dad suffered a heart attack 4 days ago and is being treated for it. How can he prevent it from happening again? I'm worried for his safety.

8 Answers

Regular check up
Lower cholesterol
The main way for him to reduce his risk for another heart attack is to take his medications regularly but mainly, to change his lifestyle following a healthier diet, more physical activity and weight reduction. Blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol have to be under control and, if he smokes, he has to quit right now.
Thanks for the question and I wish your dad an excellent, speedy recovery.
If your dad was a candidate, he probably did receive a stent as part of his emergency treatment for heart attack. The most important factor of prevention of a second heart attack in the first 6-12 months after the stent is compliance with the two essential medications to prevent the stent from clotting up. One of these two medications is aspirin and the other one would be selected by his doctor. Also, his interventional cardiologist will usually determine whether he sill has other significant blockages that need to be addressed or not. A timely stress test is usually recommended by his cardiologist, if necessary.

The other aspect of preventing a second heart attack is what we call a Secondary Prevention. Basically, it involves various other medications, which vary depending on your father's other medical conditions and risks. Typically, the medications may include statins for cholesterol, Ace Inhibitors or ARB, Beta Blockers, etc.
Lifestyle modifications which, again, depend on what his own lifestyle is (i.e., smoking, weight, diet, exercise program as recommended, mental stress management, etc.).

Regular follow-ups with his cardiologist and updating loved ones for unusual, new symptoms like chest pain are all important.

The first step is to fix the blocked or severely narrowed arteries (with stents). The next is to control the "risk factors" by taking a statin (cholesterol-lowering drug – whatever his cholesterol is), not smoking and treating high blood pressure. He should also take two anti-platelet meds for at least 3 months and, unless his heart attack was "inferior", he should take a beta-blocker drug for 1-3 months.

With these precautions the risk of another heart attack is quite low.
Talk to his cardiologist about a heart cath. Thereafter the anatomy will determine the therapy.

Les
Nothing can prevent a heart attack however by decreasing the risk factor you can decrease the risk of recurrence. For example by control of blood pressure, cholesterol, eating healthy and exercising you can modify does risk factors
Taking the medications, making sure the risk factors like diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol under control. Eating healthy and exercising, routine physician check to make sure above things are under control.
Make sure he is taking a statin, aspirin, lopressor, and walking everyday. He needs to keep his ldl less than 70 and follow up with his cardiologist regularly.