If you have just experienced a major trauma in your life, such as a heart attack, you are most likely constantly anxious and worried that it might happen to you anytime, anywhere. You probably have many questions running through your mind about what to do and what not to do to prevent such trauma. You have just recovered, you are currently healthy, and you want to it to stay that way as much as possible, especially if your family depends on you.
Below are some of the questions from people who have had past heart attacks and are eager to keep their health at bay. We have tried our best to find concise answers that might help you in your journey towards recovery and onwards.
- When can I return to my usual activities?
After an attack, you’d want to return to your usual healthy life. This is true particularly for those who have spent some time in the hospital. However, the answer to this question all depends on how your heart is currently and what kind of usual life you had. Essentially, one must take it slow to give your heart that gradual kick-start and a chance to be restored. Your physician will brief you on the improvements you should watch out for to be able to resume your usual activities.
It is important to remain cautious about the things that you do, especially if the doctor has not instructed you to return to any kind of exercise or physical activity. Also, cardiac rehab is a vital step in further recovery, and you must sign up for it so that your heart rate and blood pressure can be monitored during physical activities.
- Can I go back to work as soon as possible?
No, not immediately. Expect to be off from work for a while, depending on the status of your heart and the status of your job. Or depending on the type of recovery you have made (100% or with residual disabilities), you may have to make some modifications with how you used to do your job. If that is not possible, then your boss will have to replace your position, and you provide you with a less strenuous one.
- Can I drive it?
Majority of individuals who recovered from a heart attack can drive after a week or two, so this does not pose much of a problem. However, you should talk about this with your doctor, as you may have other new conditions or issues that will prevent you from being able to drive efficiently. If you are a bus driver or any type of commercial driver, do talk with your company heads before going back to driving.
- Can I engage in sex?
Yes, but not until two to three weeks later. Engaging in sex is a vigorous activity that, like other physical activities, would require the heart to be strong and healthy. It is wise to start slow.
Guidelines To Staying Healthy
There are practical ways you can do to further your recovery and maintain your healthy state after a heart attack. These are called secondary preventions. But ultimately, you must be educated on the type of heart attack that afflicted you. Ask for a thorough explanation from your doctor, including the risk factors and tips on how to avoid future heart attacks.
Here are some helpful tips on maintaining and improving your heart health.
- Stay fit. Follow an exercise regimen that you can routinely do every day, one that allows you to be active at a paced rate. Doing this helps you manage your blood pressure, heart rate, and overall weight. Continue taking your prescribed medications on time. Avoid stressing yourself and find ways to keep yourself relaxed and happy. Think positively.
- Stop Smoking. Cigarette smoking is one of the most hazardous habits that can potentially lead to another attack and even death. It is a major risk factor for moderate to severe heart conditions, as it blocks the blood vessels, preventing oxygen and blood from appropriately reaching your heart and other organs of the body.
Nicotine is the main culprit that makes up the cigarette, which is the main cause of increased blood pressure. Also, second-hand smoking equally causes heart disease and lung cancer.
- Check For Diabetes. If you have diabetes, you have a higher likelihood of getting a stroke and a heart attack. Ask your doctor to be screened for diabetes, although your doctor may have already done so.
- Check Your Cholesterol Levels. Make sure that you have high levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and low levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). When you have too much LDL in your system, you must improve your diet, as this may cause another heart attack. Your doctor might prescribe you with medications to further decrease your LDL levels, but you will have to do your part on the kind of food you must consume. Choose high-protein, low-fat, and high-fiber foods to avoid heart damage.
Recovering from a heart attack is not easy, so you should religiously follow a healthy routine. It is also important for you to watch out for warning signs of a coming attack.
These signs and symptoms can be experienced at rest or with activity:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain (angina pectoris)
- Dizziness or fainting
- Tight jaw, neck, or arms
- Cold sweats
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Leg pain or swelling
- Unexplained fatigue