Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle Changes After PCI and Protected PCI

There are many different things you can do to help improve cardiovascular health, even after a PCI. Speak with your doctor about what is best for you and consider making healthy lifestyle changes.


There are many chemicals in cigarettes and cigarette smoke that can damage your heart and blood vessels. One of these chemicals, nicotine, is known to affect your heart and blood vessels by increasing your blood pressure, heart rate and your risk of blood clots. It also decreases the amount of oxygen flowing to your heart and changes the structure and function of your blood vessels. When you stop smoking the damage to your heart and blood vessels may reverse and your risk of heart disease drops.


Common dietary recommendations for patients with heart disease include limiting:

  • The amount of salt intake to 1500 mg (1.5 g) per day
  • The amount of liquid you drink to 2000 ml (2 L) per day

Salt enables your body to retain water. Excess water makes it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. To keep yourself hydrated and your heart healthy, the amount of water and salt are restricted. Other dietary suggestions include:

  • Decrease the amount of fat in your diet by choosing lower-fat milk products
  • Eat more whole grain products, vegetables, fruit, fish and smaller portions of meat
  • Substitute lower fat snacks and desserts


Exercise is an important part of recovery from PCI. After your follow-up stress test, your cardiologist may refer you to a cardiac rehabilitation program, which can provide exercise support and monitoring as you recover. At the end of the program, you may receive a personalized exercise program. Stay with the program and gradually include aerobic exercise such as biking, jogging, swimming or walking in your routine. If you feel short of breath, tired or have a problem while exercising, stop and consult your cardiologist as soon as possible. Here are some additional heart-healthy exercise tips:

  • Wait at least 90 minutes after eating to exercise

  • Take five minutes to warm up and cool down before and after aerobic activity

  • Start exercising slowly and gradually increase your activity level

These lifestyle changes may help prevent further heart problems, as reported by a Swedish study.

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