Services

Back to Document

8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make

If you've already been through one heart attack, you're at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves you can reduce that risk.

Unfortunately, many heart patients have mistaken ideas about what's good for them.

Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same.

If your Aunt Mary had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. Or, your friend the construction worker may have given up his job after a heart attack, so you assume you'll need to give up your desk job, too. Don't count on it. Work with your doctor to learn what's best for you personally.

Mistake 2: Not adopting a healthier lifestyle.

Learning to eat better may seem like the challenge of a lifetime--not to mention giving up cigarettes or making time for regular exercise. Yet, these are some of the best things you can do for a happier, healthier future.

Important steps that can help you prevent a second heart attack include:

  • Quit smoking.

  • Exercise regularly, according to your health care provider's advice.

  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and calories.

  • Control your weight.

  • Manage your blood pressure.

  • Control your cholesterol levels.

  • Control diabetes or any other blood sugar abnormalities.

Mistake 3: Staying stuck in grief or depression.

You may have lost your healthy self-image or the ability to do important things in your life. Any major life change will bring feelings of loss and may require a grieving process.

You and your family may need to work through a variety of emotions after your heart attack. Keep in mind that doing so leads to a positive, constructive future.

If you are overwhelmed with feelings of grief or depression, don't hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional.

Mistake 4: Giving up on heart medications.

Don't stop taking your medications without talking to your health care provider. Work with your provider to determine what your choices are and what these medications can do for you in terms of risk versus benefit. Ask for help in choosing the ones that:

  • Work the best for you

  • Have the fewest side effects

  • Are affordable

  • You'll be comfortable taking

Mistake 5: Tiptoeing around your family.

Think about it: If you quit smoking and everyone else in the family quits as a result, you'll be helping everyone. Don't be afraid to make a big deal about your attempts at a healthy lifestyle; ask your loved ones to give you as much support as possible.

Mistake 6: Staking your life on yesterday's truths.

In many cases, the treatments doctors relied on just a few years ago already are considered outdated. There have been dramatic changes in medications and procedures, so stay up-to-date with regular visits to your health care team. 

Mistake 7: Shunning exercise.

Maybe you're worried it will overstress your heart, but regular exercise actually may be one of the best things you can do for your heart. It's crucial for someone who's already had a heart attack to exercise properly under the advice of a doctor. Get an exercise prescription designed just for you, based on your physical condition and your needs and interests.

Exercise can help people control risks related to weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. One excellent way to get started is to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program.

Mistake 8: Not "bothering" your doctor with questions.

Your health care provider is your greatest ally and wants to partner in your care. Don't hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns.

Rest assured your heart is in the right place at Broward Health. Patients have access to a wide range of services at all of our hospitals for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Our team of cardiac physicians and cardio-thoracic surgeons are among the most talented and experienced in Broward. Broward Health Medical Center has been recognized by U.S. News and World Report as the only high performing hospital for heart care and heart surgery in Broward County.

The Heart Center of Excellence at Broward Health Medical Center, one of the nations’ top centers for cardiovascular treatment, gives patients access to a medical team of experts and the most advanced technology needed to combat heart disease and its related conditions.

Broward Health Imperial Point’s Heart Failure Management Program was the first hospital in South Florida to receive the Gold Seal of Approval™ for healthcare quality from the Joint Commission.

Find a variety of cardiac services at Broward Health Coral Springs, including rapid treatment and thrombolytic therapy at the new Emergency Department, as well as ongoing Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Screenings and Fitness Classes at the Community Education Center.

Many of our facilities use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), a technique that takes multiple "cross-section" images of the body, which are then assembled into a three-dimensional image by a computer, to evaluate cardiac conditions such as cardiac malformations and blood flow and vessel disorders.

Broward Health North offers Positron Emission Tomography (PET), a powerful, proven diagnostic imaging modality that can effectively pinpoint the source of many of the most common heart diseases, eliminating the need for redundant tests and diagnostic surgical procedures.

To contact a Broward Health heart specialist or request an appointment, call the Broward Health Line at 954.759.7400.