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Heart attack recovery – your first month

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Heart attack recovery – your first month

Explore the Heart Foundation’s guide on what to expect in the first month after your heart attack.

Key takeaways

2 min read

  • Having a heart attack can be a scary and overwhelming event.  

  • You need to know what has happened to you.  

  • There are steps you can take in the first month after your heart attack to start recovering. 

  • If you’re alone and think you’re having a heart attack, call triple zero (000) immediately.  

A heart attack can be a life-changing event. It’s common for many people to feel scared, confused and overwhelmed after a heart attack.

After your treatment, you likely received instructions and a lot of information from your doctor. You may not remember a lot of what the doctors and nurses told you, especially during the first few days. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the staff. You can also talk to your family about what’s happening.

Find out what to expect in the first few weeks after having a heart attack.   

What happened to you?

It’s important to know what has happened to your heart, in order to recover.

A heart attack usually happens when an artery that supplies blood to an area of your heart is suddenly blocked.

Ask your doctor or nurse exactly what happened and what treatment or procedure you have received. 

Learn about the heart attack risk factors that are relevant to you, including: 

  • High blood pressure 

  • High cholesterol 

  • Diet 

  • ​​Smoking

​Speak to your doctor about your heart-health history. They can advise you on the heart attack risk factors you need to manage. Keeping your heart healthy and ongoing management of risk factors is critical to reducing the risk of another heart event.  

Cardiac rehabilitation, also called cardiac rehab, provides personalised support, including information about: 

  • Your heart condition and treatment  

  • Getting back to your usual activities (for example, work, driving, having sex)  

  • Changing your lifestyle to improve your heart health 

  • Managing your medicines 

  • Stopping smoking 

  • Knowing warning signs 

  • What to do in an emergency. 

Ask questions about things that worry you and get support if you feel stressed, anxious, or depressed. 

Cardiac rehabilitation can help you recover and get back to normal activities sooner. 

Find your nearest cardiac rehab program today.

There are many medicines that treat: 

  • Heart attack 

  • Angina 

  • High blood pressure 

  • High cholesterol 

  • ​Other heart conditions 

Your cardiologist, along with your doctor, will decide the best medicines for you to take at home. These will help you manage your heart condition. Speak to your doctor or cardiologist to understand the medicines you need to take.

When you leave the hospital, you will only have enough medicine for a short time. You must keep taking these medicines. See your doctor for more prescriptions and discuss any concerns you have with them. 

Warning signs of a heart attack can differ. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. Some people have mild pain, while others have more severe pain.

Some heart attacks strike suddenly. Many people have warning signs and symptoms, hours, days, or weeks in advance.

It’s important to know: 

  1. The warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack  

  2. What to do if you or someone close to you is having a heart attack.  

If you’re alone and think you’re having a heart attack, call triple zero (000) immediately. 

Don’t wait, every minute counts – recognising symptoms and acting quickly by calling triple zero (000) can reduce damage to your heart and save your life.  

Regular doctor visits are essential to monitor your heart health and medicines. You can also use these visits to discuss any questions you have about your medicines, emotional health, or recovery in general. They’re there to help, so don’t be afraid to talk about any concerns.  

Your first steps to recovery 

Having a heart attack can be a scary and overwhelming event. It’s important to know what has happened to you and what you can do in the first month after to start recovery. 

  • Understand what has happened 

  • Understand potential future risk factors 

  • Join a cardiac rehab program 

  • Understand your medications 

  • ​Know the warning signs of a heart attack.    

Learn more about how cardiac rehab can help you get back to normal activities. 

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Last updated01 April 2020