May 28, 2004 at 12:35 PM CDT - Updated June 27 at 5:54 PM
The summer season is here, and when you add hot weather and strenuous outdoor activities together, you make a dangerous combination, especially if you have heart trouble. But there are ways you can protect yourself from having a heart attack this summer.
Forty-eight-year-old Joe Fazzino is looking forward to this summer more than ever. And he's approaching the season with a new perspective. Joe is a heart attack survivor.
"I was mowing the lawn when it started. And it started around two in the afternoon on a pretty humid Sunday afternoon," says Joe.
For a heart attack survivor, overexertion during summer activities such as mowing a lawn, swimming, or even climbing a ladder, may increase the risk of another heart attack. Extreme temperatures and air pollution may also help trigger a heart attack. The good news is there are steps that can be taken to help survivors lower the risk of a future heart attack during the summer.
"The three things I would think of as most important are firstly to take your medications as prescribed. Don't forget them even if you go on vacation. Take them with you. Secondly, to modify your diet, keep your lifestyle prudent with the fat intake. Thirdly, don't overdo it and get too enthusiastic in the extremes of temperature with your exercise," says Dr. Jeffery Moses.
According to the American Heart Association, each year over one million people in the U.S. will have a heart attack. Within six years of having their first, only one in five men and one in three women will have a second heart attack.
In addition to diet and exercise, some medication helps. Dr. Moses recommends Plavix -- but of course discuss any medication with your doctor.