A surprising number of Americans don’t take medications as prescribed. When it comes to medications prescribed after myocardial infarction, more commonly known as a heart attack, many patients choose to stop taking their prescriptions because they don’t “feel sick.” While no one wants to take medication, your heart meds can have a much more profound impact on your risk of recurrent heart failure symptoms than you may believe.
Why Patients May Avoid Heart Meds
Patients avoid taking heart medications for a variety of reasons. One of the most commonly expressed reasons is the relatively healthy feeling that many patients experience after hospital treatment for a heart attack. Without the sensation of being sick, patients may mistakenly believe that there is no need for meds. Another common reason for not taking medications is a general fear of potential risks and side effects, especially from extended use of particular prescriptions.
The Implications of Not Taking Your Meds
Heart medications can significantly enhance the heart’s ability to function, often in ways that are not perceptible to the patient. For instance, certain heart medications prevent blood from clotting in the arteries, allowing a healthy flow of blood throughout the body. Beta-blockers and ACE inhibitors can prevent a second heart attack, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. All of these benefits are generally not noticeable to a patient on a day-to-day basis. But that doesn’t mean the medications aren’t having a positive, potentially life-changing effect on your heart health.
It may encourage you to take your medications if you think of them as a preventative heart health measure, rather than a treatment for current symptoms. With the proper support, men and women can live long and healthy lives after myocardial infarction, often made possible through the diligent use of medications that promote heart function.