Advanced Medical Care Logo

Helping a Loved One After They've Had a Heart Attack

Dec 06, 2023
Queens | 347-571-9389       Brooklyn | 929-552-2973      
misc image
When your loved one has a heart attack, they need you more than ever. How do you help them recover and avoid another episode without burning out yourself? Read on for some tips to keep your loved one safe without putting yourself at risk.

Every 40 seconds, somebody in the United States suffers a myocardial infarction, otherwise known as a heart attack. That’s more than 800,000 people each year, and of those, 200,000 have already had at least one heart attack previously.

When your loved one becomes part of those disheartening statistics, you may feel at a loss to help them. Whether it’s their first heart attack, second, or third, the one thing you know is that you don’t want them to suffer another one. 

At Advanced Medical Care, our experienced cardiologists help you identify and manage risk factors for myocardial infarction. If you or your loved one has already experienced a heart attack, we also aid with recovery and prevention at our offices in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.

What can you do to help your loved one after a heart attack? Here, we’ve created a brief guide with helpful hints.

Ease them back toward normality

After a heart attack, your loved one must recover from the trauma of myocardial infarction. For the first days or weeks, they may not be allowed to drive or conduct their normal daily activities.

Be prepared to step in and perform tasks such as making runs to the drug store or grocery store, taking care of housekeeping and yard work, and otherwise removing the to-dos from their list. However, as soon as it’s safe, encourage your loved one to resume their daily tasks.

Part of recovery is gaining strength and independence again. Be sure they keep all follow-up appointments with their cardiologist. The professionals at Advanced Medical Care provide individualized treatment and serve as partners who can help you move your loved one back to a normal, though modified, life.

Help them make healthy changes

If your loved one has lifestyle habits that put them at risk for another heart attack, you can work with them to set goals for adopting new habits. Ideally, you should adopt these goals yourself, too, to minimize your own risk for myocardial infarction and other conditions. 

With your cardiologist’s guidance, you can help your loved one to:

  • Stop smoking
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • Create a fun exercise regimen
  • Minimize alcohol consumption
  • Lose excess weight
  • Take medications as directed
  • Get enough sleep
  • Participate in cardiac rehabilitation

Both you and your loved one may also benefit from counseling. A heart attack is frightening and stressful. Managing stress and learning self-soothing techniques are part of keeping your heart healthy for life.

Pay attention to warning signs

Most people know that one sign of an impending heart attack is severe pain in the left arm. However, not every myocardial infarction causes arm pain. Also, there are differences in the way men and women experience a heart attack, and individual differences, too.

Both you and your loved one should become familiar with all of the signs and symptoms that could indicate another heart attack. Beyond left arm pain, other signs and symptoms include:

  • Jaw, neck, or shoulder pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain
  • Sudden sweating
  • A tight or heavy chest

Don’t wait if your loved one has symptoms of a heart attack. Call for an ambulance or go straight to the emergency room.

Take care of yourself, too

Almost a quarter of adults age 45-65 in the United States act as caregivers for a family member. Unfortunately, the stress of caregiving — particularly when added to your other daily responsibilities — can take a toll on your own health.

You can embrace heart-healthy habits, too. Try to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Regular exercise helps your body physically, and it also is a good way to burn off stress and calm your nervous system.

When you’re both eating healthy vegetables, fruits, and high-quality sources of protein and fat, it’s easier to stay on the wagon. As a caregiver, you also have a built-in workout buddy. The two of you can choose activities that you both enjoy, whether it’s strolling outdoors, taking a swim, or going dancing.

If your loved one has had a heart attack or is at risk for one, get the help you need by contacting Advanced Medical Care today.