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Heart Attack Gives Most Survivors a 'Second Chance'

Yet many surveyed say they aren't doing enough to prevent a recurrence

FRIDAY, Dec. 9, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- It's traumatic, but most survivors of a heart attack regard the event as a "wake-up call" that gives them a second chance at life and a new set of priorities, a new survey finds.

However, many of the 518 heart attack survivors surveyed also said the attack left them with feelings of depression, hopelessness and fear.

The survey, released Thursday and conducted by Mended Hearts, a U.S. heart patient support group affiliated with the American Heart Association, also found that survivors are more likely to fear another heart attack than death itself.

While the majority of the survey respondents said they knew they were at increased risk for another attack, 40 percent said they were not doing everything they can to avoid having a recurrence. Eighty percent said they needed more information to manage their heart health.

"I was particularly surprised that those surveyed indicated they fear another heart attack more than death and that a substantial number of people admitted they are not doing everything they can to avoid that fear from being realized," Gus Littlefield, a national board member of Mended Hearts, said in a prepared statement.

"The likelihood is far too high that heart attack survivors will suffer another heart attack within a few years. My hope is that through the ongoing efforts of Mended Hearts and some new tools, we can educate people on how to prevent a heart attack and motivate them to take action," Littlefield said.

To do that, Mended Hearts launched on Friday the "Heartfelt Wake-Up Call," a multi-pronged program to provide heart attack patients and their families with education, tools and support to help them cope with life after a heart attack and to take action to prevent another heart attack.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about life after a heart attack.

SOURCE: American Heart Association, news release, Dec. 8, 2005
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