4 Things to Carry with You after a Heart Event

4 Things to Carry with You after a Heart Event

Experiencing a cardiac event, like heart failure or heart attack, is scary. After treatment and recovery, you may worry it could happen again. To help you feel more confident as you get back into your regular routine, we’re offering recommendations to build your own heart health “first-aid” kit. Eduardo Antezano, MD, UnityPoint Health, suggests you carry these four key items with you when you are away from home.

4 Things to Carry with You after a Heart Event

4 Things to Carry with You

“We recommend you have these items with you all the time when out and about, whether in a small purse or bag, car or bike or pocket. If you go on long walks, rides on trails, etc. in isolated places, we encourage you to go with a friend and take a cell phone,” Dr. Antezano says.

  1. Aspirin
  2. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), aspirin helps thin your blood, which in turn, can reduce the likelihood of blood clots forming. However, it’s important to talk to your provider about if you should take aspirin regularly and how it could be used if you experience another heart event.

  3. Emergency action plan
  4. In the case of a heart event, your personal emergency action plan will contain all necessary information for emergency medical personnel. It’s a good idea to keep this plan in your purse or wallet, and let your friends know about it. We recommend your emergency action plan include:

    a. List of your current medications

    • Wear a wrist band or neck lace indicating you are taking blood thinners.
    • If you have received an implantable device or coronary stent is helpful to carry card information about this device.

    b. Family contacts

  5. Spray nitroglycerin (SL)
  6. As directed by your provider, nitroglycerin can be used if you begin having symptoms of heart trouble, chest pain, pressure, etc., as well as before heavy exercise or physical activity. Talk to your cardiologist or provider about if nitroglycerin is appropriate for your situation.

  7. Doctor or cardiologist contact number
  8. While emergency situations should be handled by calling 911, if you have questions before you head out for your next activity, it never hurts to check in with your provider.

It’s better to be prepared than to encounter heart trouble empty-handed. Exercise is a prime example of when a heart health kit could prove useful. Dr. Antezano suggests taking it slowly and not jumping to solo workouts right away.

“Join a cardiac rehabilitation program or monitored exercise program for one to two months before exercising on your own. Also, find a partner or friend to exercise with is another way to maintain an exercise routine. Most importantly, take it slowly and be patient. You do not need to become competitive, instead, consistency and enjoyment of exercise is the key,” Dr. Antezano says.

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