Harvard Heart Letter

After a heart attack

Following your doctor's instructions will pay off.

Ask survivors to describe the impact of their heart attacks, and a common theme is that it was a "wake-up call." Unfortunately, many people seem to hit the snooze alarm once the danger has passed. Some ignore advice that can protect the heart; others gradually let it fall by the wayside.

In a study of nearly 2,500 heart attack survivors across the country, researchers looked at the so-called discharge instructions given to these men and women when they left the hospital. These instructions should cover everything from who to call in case of an emergency to what long-term steps to take to prevent another heart attack.

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