Following your heart attack, there's a good chance that you were released from the hospital with a fist full of prescriptions - necessitating a pharmacy stop by you, or someone close to you. So now you may be in possession of quite a few pill bottles containing heart medications you know little, if anything, about.
Tempting as it might be to just throw them in a drawer, they are probably vital to your heart's recovery and your survival, so let's take a look at what they do and take heart - as you improve, you probably won't need so many.
Prescription Heart Meds
If your MI (heart attack) damaged your heart, you have probably been prescribed the following 3 types of medication. Taken exactly as directed, they work in unison to help your heart recover by strengthening and remodeling it.
ACE Inhibitors - lisinopril (Prinivil, Zestril), ramipril (Altace), enalapril (Vasotec), captopril (Capoten), benazepril (Lotensin) Help to reverse heart failure, lower blood pressure, decrease heart's workload, and reduce artery inflammation.
Beta-Blockers - metoprolol (Toprol XL, Lopressor) propranolol (Inderal) carvedilol (Coreg), bisoprolol (Zebeta) Reduce heart failure symptoms and risk of abnormal heart rhythms/death; aid heart remodeling.
Diuretics - furosemide (Lasix), bumetanide (Bumex) Help to decrease fluid retention associated with heart failure. Aldosterone Antagonists spironolactone (Aldactone), eplerenone (Inspra) are potassium-sparing types of diuretic that may also help to reverse any heart scarring.
In addition to the trio above, you are most likely to be given a statin drug. Anyone who receives a drug-coated stent is usually advised to take a statin for at least a year. If you have problems with cholesterol, your doctor may want you to regularly take statins because statins minimize cholesterol-and the prevalent Western medicine hypothesis is that high cholesterol is behind most heart attacks.
Other possible prescriptions are the following:
ARBs- losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan) Typically prescribed for those who cannot take ACE inhibitors, they have similar effects. Nitrates or Vasodilators are other alternatives.
Digitalis - digoxin (Lanoxin) Reduces symptoms of heart failure, slows the heartbeat, and increases the strength of heart contractions.
Blood Pressure Meds - ACE Inhibitors and diuretics both help to lower blood pressure. There is a long list of other blood pressure medications that I will leave you to search out online if needed.
Topping all of the above, you are likely to be given a single low-dose (81 mg) aspirin regimen per day. Technically speaking, NSAIDs, this very low dose-usually considered appropriate, is moderately anti-inflammatory, helps to thin the blood, and can also lower cholesterol slightly.
Often Suggested Daily Supplements For Your Heart
The following supplements are often taken by heart attack survivors and can make quite a difference in your recovery. But be sure to discuss with your doctor before buying or taking one.
CoQ10 (ubiquinol) - Statins deplete the body's normal level of this crucial substance, weakening the heart muscle. Knowing this, most doctors recommend 200 mg daily. Ubiquinol is the better-absorbed version and should be taken with oil for proper absorption (I take it at the same time as my fish oil).
D-Ribose - When the heart has been blood and/or oxygen-deprived, or when stressed by certain drugs (such as digoxin), Ribose can supply the energy needed to regenerate. It can be particularly helpful in the first 10 days to 2 weeks after a heart attack - the longer the heart was deprived of it is the normal flow of blood and oxygen, the greater the need.
Fish Oil - Reduces inflammation, thins the blood, and can lower triglycerides. Wild-caught cold-water fish oil is best. Can contribute to easy bruising if on other blood thinners, so I take 1000 mg daily.
C - An antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that can lower elevated C-reactive protein (inflammation), supports blood vessels, and may even help lower blood pressure and cholesterol slightly. Buffered is easier on the system.
B complex - Cutting back on animal products can deplete important B vitamins that aid blood vessel health, reduce stroke risk, and modulate homocysteine. I prefer to stay away from mega-dose versions.
D3 - Switching from dairy products to alternatives may mean you'll need to supplement this vitamin. A 16-year international study of participants age 50-79, published June 2014, showed a 26% increased cardiovascular related death risk for subjects in the US who were deficient in this vitamin. If you don't get much sun you may want more than 1000 IU daily.
Magnesium - Many people are deficient in this important mineral which aids in keeping heartbeats regular, as well as lowering blood pressure.
Niacin ER (time-released) - Can change your LDL to the non-harmful type BUT, when taken while on statins, can cause excessive metabolic stress on the liver. Available as a prescription medication.