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The important role of medication

There is strong evidence that taking medications after a heart attack can lower the risk of having another one and that taking medications helps to prevent complications.

Evidence suggests that the best ways to prevent having another heart attack or stroke are to:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Take a ‘statin’ medication which also reduces cholesterol
  • Lower the chance of blood clots forming

And so there are 3 main types of medication which help to achieve this:

  • Blood pressure lowering medicines (Antihypertensives)
  • Statins
  • Antiplatelet and anti-thrombotic agents.

After a heart attack it is highly likely that you will be taking all three of these medications – if you are not, then ask your doctor about the reasons for this. If you have angina or atrial fibrillation (AF), sometimes other medications can be added. It is recommended that medications are used in conjunction with healthy lifestyle changes such as stopping smoking, eating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

Dr Fraser Hamilton talks of the role of heart medication
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Did you know?

For most people who have had a heart attack, the benefits of taking medication far outweigh the risks of harm associated with not taking medication.

Taking aspirin or taking blood pressure lowering medication and lowering your blood pressure by 10 mmHg (such as going from 160/100 to 150/90), or taking cholesterol medication and lowering your LDL cholesterol by 20%.

If you want to take any additional supplements on top of your heart medication then you must talk to your doctor to make sure they are not going to interfere with your heart pills and not harm you.Graham Lowe
Graham Lowe
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YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR RISK OF HAVING A FURTHER HEART ATTACK BY 25% OVER 5 YEARS BY...
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TAKING ASPIRIN OR BLOOD PRESSURE LOWERING MEDICATION AND REDUCING YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE BY 10mmHG (E.G GOING FROM 160/100 TO 150/90)
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OR BY TAKING CHOLESTEROL MEDICATION AND REDUCING YOUR LDL BY 20%

Other therapies

Often people with health conditions consider using other forms of therapy such as complementary therapy, alternative therapy or traditional healing. For some people they feel this gives them some control over their condition and that the therapy is natural and low risk. For others they want to try everything that may help with their illness and for others it is part of their usual cultural practice.

Examples of other therapies include:

  • Massage
  • Acupunture
  • Herbal Remedies
  • Vitamins

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, or thinking about taking, any other therapies. Some of these treatments may continue to provide you with the benefits that you have previously enjoyed but others may interfere with the action of a drug that you are now taking – it is important to get it checked out.

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Discuss with health professional use of complementary or herbal therapies