“You’re going to be better off now than you were before.” That’s what cardiologist Nieca Goldberg, MD, medical director at NYU Langone Health in New York, tells her patients after they’ve had a heart attack or heart procedure.
Before a heart attack, patients usually aren’t as vigilant about their health, says Dr. Goldberg. “Now [they’re] very interested and ready to listen to the doctor that’s taking care of them, or some of the nurses, or the nutritionists they might meet at the hospital.”
Those hours and days after experiencing a heart attack are a key time to for patients to learn more about how living a heart-healthy lifestyle—getting enough exercise, quitting smoking and eating for heart health—and staying on top of their new medication regimen can prevent a second heart attack or need for repeat heart surgery.
And, of course, you don’t need to have a heart attack for this advice to hold true. By learning heart disease warning signs and your individual heart disease risk factors, you can lower your risk of developing heart disease—and having your first heart attack.