ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) –In the 1950’s, weeks of bed rest was the standard of care after a heart attack. However, today that has completely changed. Here are details on what mistakes heart attack survivors and their families need to avoid during recovery.
Your heart may have stopped during a heart attack, but that doesn’t mean your body has to afterwards.
Christine Adams, M.D., a cardiologist at Scripps Women Heart Center in San Diego, California, told Ivanhoe, “I think the biggest mistake people make is that they think their family member can’t do anything at all.”
Doctors recommend getting your body up and moving sooner during recovery.
“We encourage people to get active in a safe manner and we prescribe cardiac rehabilitation for everyone,” said Dr. Adams.
Try a regular exercise routine for 30 minutes, three to five times a week. Another mistake is not making a follow up appointment with your doctor. Patients and doctors can check the progress of new medications and patients can ask questions about any lingering symptoms of the heart attack.
A good rule of thumb after a heart attack is to follow the ABC’s of recovery. Avoid tobacco, be more active and choose good nutrition.
Also, it’s completely normal to feel a variety of emotions after a heart attack, from anger and resentment to depression and anxiety. It’s important to talk to your doctor or family and friends if these emotions interfere with sleeping, eating, or self-esteem.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
HEART ATTACK RECOVERY MISTAKES
BACKGROUND: A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked, most often by a build-up of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the coronary arteries. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. Common heart attack signs and symptoms include pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back, nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain, shortness of breath, cold sweat, fatigue, and lightheadedness or sudden dizziness. Certain factors contribute to the unwanted buildup of fatty deposits that narrows arteries throughout your body. Risk factors include old age, tobacco use, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, family history of heart attacks, stress, drug use, and a history of an autoimmune condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
TREATMENT: Many believe that after a heart attack the best recovery option is to rest. While resting is important, getting active soon after recovery is just as important. Typical treatments include medications, lifestyle changes and, in some cases, surgical procedures. Your doctor may also run some diagnostic tests to determine how much your heart was damaged and what degree of coronary artery disease you have. In many cases doctors will recommend that survivors get more physical activity than they got before their heart attack. A good night’s rest is especially important for heart attack patients. And if you feel tired during the day, take a nap or a short rest. Heart patients should rest before they get too tired. Your doctor will tell you what’s best for your specific situation, but most heart attack patients find they have plenty of energy for both work and leisure activities. Most heart attack patients go back to work within two weeks to three months depending on the severity of the heart attack. Rehabilitation programs are advised to help improve health and well-being and change your lifestyle habits through exercise training, education and counseling to reduce stress. These programs often take place at a hospital with a rehabilitation team or with the help of your doctor, nurse, dietitian or other healthcare professionals.
EMOTIONAL RESPONSES: About one fourth of patients after a heart attack feel depressed, angry and afraid. These are normal responses that usually go away with time, as you get back to your regular activities. To help relieve the emotional blues: get up and get dressed every day. Do not stay in bed all day. Get out and walk daily. Daily activity will help you have a healthy mind and body. Resume hobbies and social activities you enjoy. Share your feelings with your family, a friend, a clergyman, or support group. Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel tired or irritable. Be careful not to nap too much during the day, or you will not be able to sleep at night. Limit visits with friends and family at first, to avoid feeling over-tired. Increase them depending on how you feel. With time, these visits can be helpful to lift your spirits.
* For More Information, Contact:
Free weekly e-mail on Medical Breakthroughs from Ivanhoe. To sign up: http://www.ivanhoe.com/ftk