Q&A: How can I prevent a second heart attack?

Dr. Furman, I  was shocked when I ended up in the hospital with a major heart attack. In hindsight I’ll admit that I did not heed my doctor’s warnings about my increasing weight and cholesterol levels. Is there anything someone like me, who has just had a first heart attack, can do to prevent another one?

Answer:  Approximately 785,000 American’s were happy to see 2014 go because it was the year they had their first heart attack. Countless hours were spent in the hospital and in doctor’s offices instead of in the activities of life that they had been anticipating. Unfortunately for roughly 60% of them it will happen again, according to the American Heart Association. Additionally, 19% of men and 16% of women over the age of 45, who have their first heart attack, die within one year after having it.

These are sobering statistics. The good news is that we do know ways to prevent a second one. A significant report in medical literature demonstrated that cardiac rehabilitation, which included exercise, resulted in approximately a 27% reduction in having another cardiac event versus patients who did not include exercise in rehabilitation.

I discuss many other important lifestyle changes in my book and on my blog that help prevent a first or second heart attack, including 1) Eating the Right Foods, 2) Losing Weight, and 3) Exercising. Rather than relying on statins and luck, you can choose to make a difference in 2015. Consider yourself blessed to have this second opportunity to get heart-healthy and keep up the exercise in your prescribed cardiac rehabilitation program.

Learn more about Dr. Furman’s plan to help you live a longer and more active life in Prescription for Life.




“Man with Board” photo courtesy of freedigitalimages.net