Once you recover from a cardiac event, such as a heart attack, you may
be wondering if you’ll experience another. To help you feel more
confident as you get back to your regular routine, cardiologist James
Ritter, MD of
Catawba Valley Cardiology offers some recommendations to build your own heart health “first-aid”
kit. Dr. Ritter, suggests you carry five key items with you when you are
away from home:
Aspirin – 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 to know if you should take aspirin regularly and how it could
be used if you experience another heart event.
- Emergency action plan – 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. It’s wise that your
emergency action plan include a list of your current medications, any
known allergies and your family contact information. Wear a wristband
or necklace indicating you are taking blood thinners. Also, If you have
received an implantable device or coronary stent it is helpful to carry
information about this device as well.
- Spray nitroglycerin – 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 physical activity. Talk to your
cardiologist or provider about whether or not nitroglycerin is appropriate
for your situation.
- Doctor or cardiologist contact number – 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.
- Also consider carrying a copy of the most recent EKG and brief medical
history or problem list.
“It’s a good idea to have these items with you all the time
when out and about, whether in a small purse or bag, car or bike or pocket,”
says Dr. Ritter. “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
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. Ritter suggests taking it slowly and not jumping to solo workouts
“Join a cardiac rehab program or monitored exercise program for one
to two months before exercising on your own. Also, finding a partner or
friend to exercise with is another way to maintain a safer exercise routine.
Most importantly, take it slowly and be patient. It’s not necessary
to become competitive, instead, consistency and enjoyment of exercise
is the key,” Dr. Ritter says.
If you have questions about your heart health, contact
Catawba Valley Cardiology located near the Catawba Valley Medical Center campus at 3521 Graystone
Place SE, Suite 202 in Convover, NC. For more information about services
provided, please visit
https://cvmgonline.org/our-practices/cardiology/ or call 828.326.2354 to schedule an appointment.