Heart attack recovery is a long process, and one in which a person cannot rush. Every individual is going to have a different time frame for how long it takes, but for some it can take several months to feel better. While recovering, a person will have many health care professionals who are meant to help them make it through their recovery safely.
Recovery After a Heart Attack
After a heart attack, there are two stages of recovery. One of these is at the hospital, while the other is at home. Both stages are meant to help a person to feel better, while also ensuing that they are decreasing their chances of another heart attack. There are also several other consideration to take in mind when it comes to heart attack recovery.
When a person is at the hospital, there are going to be medical professionals who are constantly monitoring the heart and any issues a person may be having. They will provide the person with the information that they need to know in order to prevent another heart attack, and what they should be on the lookout for when they go home.
2. After Going Home
When a person has been released, they are on light duty when they get home meaning that they should mostly rest and only walk a bit every day. After a few weeks, the person can start to increase their activity level in order to get back to normal health. The health provider a person has will advise them on how they should progress with their activity level. There are hospitals that offer a cardiac rehab program that is meant to help the person while they are at home and requires going into the office a few times per week. This can be a great way to get back into physical shape with the help of a professional.
At home, exercise is recommended, but the person should only be doing what their doctor has said was fine for them to do. Most of these exercises are aerobic in nature. Those who are exercising and notice symptoms such as chest pain, being dizzy, shortness of breath, heart beat that is fast or irregular, vomiting, nausea, feeling weak or swelling in the legs should contact their doctor as there may be an issue.
3. When Can You Go Back to Work?
The time frame in which someone can return to work depends on the person’s rate of healing and the type of job that they have. For those who have a job that is considered light duty, they may be able to return to work in as little as two weeks while those who work a more manual job may be out for a couple of months.
4. What About Driving?
Doctors often recommend that a person not drive for at least 4 weeks after having a heart attack. For those who drive professionally, the motor vehicle department has to be told of this heart attack, which will result in their commercial license being suspended for 6 week. After this time, a person can drive once they pass a health exam.
5. What About Sex?
Sex is not restricted once the person feels like having sex. For most people this means waiting four to six weeks after having a heart attack to feel up to doing this. Men often find that they can develop erectile dysfunction after a heart attack, which can result in taking medications in order to have sex successfully.
6. What If You Feel Depressed?
Feeling depressed after a heart attack and during recovery is normal. Many people feel depressed for up to 6 months after the heart attack happens, as they feel that at any moment it could happen again. For most people, the depression goes away on their own as they get to feeling better and become more active. However, if the depression is affecting their sleep or their diet, they may need to talk to a professional about their medical options for dealing with depression.
7. What Can You Start Traveling?
If a person is traveling as a passenger via a train, bus or even a car, then they can travel as soon as they would like. However, they may get tired more easily, thus longer trips may mean making frequent stops. In addition, those who are recovering for heart attacks often get car sick more easily than before. Those who want to travel by airplane will have to talk with their doctor as this is upon a case by case basis, and is not the same for everyone.
Life Style Changes for Better Heart Attack Recovery
Those who have a heart attack can speed up their recovery and help to prevent a heart attack from happening again by following a few tips.
1. Do Not Smoke
Smoking makes it harder for your blood to carry oxygen to organs, while also increasing your chances of having heart issues. Therefore, it is best to avoid smoking and to avoid second hand smoke if at all possible.
2. Get Exercise
In order to keep your heart functioning properly after a heart attack, ease into an exercise plan and then keep with this. This can help the heart to remain in the best shape possible. Some exercises to consider are running, swimming or simply walking.
3. Eat a Good Diet
Eat foods that are known for helping to ensure your heart health. With this diet, avoid saturated and trans fat, and eat more fruits and vegetables and you must limit meat intake while having more bread. Be sure to eat 2 to 4 portions of fish which contains omega-3 every week. Examples of those include sardines, herring, trout, tuna, salmon and mackerel.
4. Stress Control
Stress can put a strain on the heart. Thus, those who are dealing with stress need to find ways in which they can lower their stress level to avoid heart issues.
5. Watch Your Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure is straining your heart, thus learning how to control this is in your best interest. If you cannot do this with diet and exercise, a doctor may suggest medicines that are meant to help lower the blood pressure.
6. Watch Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol levels that are high increases the chance of having a heart attack. Thus, a person needs to use diet and exercise as a way to keep their cholesterol levels where they should be. If this does not work, using medications can help to accomplish this.
7. Be Checked for Diabetes
Those who have diabetes are at an increased chance of having a heart attack. Thus, it is important to get routine checks for this.
8. Take Medicines or Supplements Under You Doctor's Advice
There are four types of medications which are widely used to reduce your risks of future heart attack, which include:
- angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
For more information on what to do for better heart attack recovery, watch the series of videos: