In a normal person, the blood vessels of the heart supplies blood to the heart muscles. However, when these blood vessels are narrowed or blocked, your blood supply becomes restricted and heart muscles die. This causes a heart attack. During your hospital stay, you may have received treatment including ballooning and stenting or coronary artery bypass grafting, along with medications. Having a heart attack increases your risk of future health problems. To reduce your risk of another heart attack keep your blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels well controlled by taking medications on time and modifying your lifestyle. Below are the steps for recovering after a heart attack.
Taking your prescribed medications regularly is very important. These commonly include blood thinning medications like aspirin, clopidogrel and ticagrelor. Also prescribed is cholesterol lowering medicines such as statins. You may also be prescribed with medication for high blood pressure and diabetes, if you have these risk factors. All these medications are crucial to help prevent another heart attack. Please do not stop your medication without consulting your doctor.
Quitting smoking is one of the important steps for recovering after a heart attack. Quitting smoking can reduce your chance of another heart attack by as much as 40%. There are various forms of support available to help you. Speak to your doctors and nurses to find out more.
Watching what we eat is one of the essential steps for recovering after a heart attack. It is also a part of leading a healthy life. Avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. Eat less oily, salty and sugary food. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are healthy choices. You should include them in your diet. If possible, choose healthy food preparation methods like steaming, blanching and grilling.
You may wonder what sort of physical activities you can perform safely. This will vary from patient to patient. In general, you may participate in light exercises such as walking within a week after your heart attack. Depending on your heart condition, you may gradually increase the intensity of your exercises.
Cardiac rehabilitation services are available at the hospital. This is a structured program aimed at helping you to gradually improve your overall physical fitness and enhance your psychological well being. It also aims to modify your risk factors and reduce the risk of another heart attack. Studies have shown that cardiac rehabilitation significantly reduces the risk of heart related deaths by 40% and hospital re-admission by 30%.
For all drivers, please do not drive for at least one month after a heart attack. For vocational drivers, you may be required to do a stress test to verify your fitness for driving. Please check with your cardiologist, when it will be safe for you to drive. In general, you should not travel by air for at least one month after a heart attack. Check with your cardiologist when you will be fit for travel.