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Every year, thousands of Americans survive a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, return home from the hospital and continue on their patient journey.
However, according to American Heart Association data, more than one in four women and nearly one in five men died within a year of having a heart attack.
The risk factors for death after an MI may include a patient's age, medical history, multiple medical conditions, severity of the heart attack, lifestyle behaviors, and adherence to treatment.
Heart attack patients may be able to impact their health by managing the risk factors which are under their control, such as following their doctor's instructions around making lifestyle adjustments and taking their medications as prescribed.
Caregivers can be a valuable source of help for their loved ones during this difficult time.
"The transition from hospital to home care is eased when patients have support from caregivers who have access to practical information and tools," said Jim Blasetto, M.D., cardiologist and vice president at AstraZeneca.
Here are a few tips to help caregivers and patients work together:
• Immediately fill new prescriptions. Following a heart attack, patients receive multiple medications when discharged from the hospital.
One of these medications may be an oral antiplatelet such as Brilinta (ticagrelor) tablets.
Brilinta is a prescription medicine for people who: Have had a recent heart attack or severe chest pain that happened because their heart wasn't getting enough oxygen; Have had a heart attack or chest pain and are being treated with medicines or procedures to open blocked arteries in the heart.
Brilinta is used with aspirin to lower your chance of having another serious problem with your heart or blood vessels such as heart attack, stroke, or blood clots in your stent if you received one. These can be fatal.
The U.S. acute coronary syndrome guidelines recommend dual antiplatelet therapy for up to or at least one year after a heart attack.
• Understand what each medicine does. The primary care doctor can help answer questions at the next visit.
• Work together to follow a healthy diet and a doctor-recommended exercise plan. Caregivers can offer motivation and encouragement in establishing, and sticking to, new routines.
• Recognize and celebrate milestones along the patient journey. November is National Family Caregivers Month, but every day is an opportunity to recognize and thank caregivers for all they do.