Changes to Make After a Heart Attack
A heart attack is a significant event in the life of someone who suffers one, and it will irreversibly alter the trajectory of their life and the lives of their friends, family, and caretakers around them. If you or a loved one has recently suffered a heart attack, it’s important to understand all the medications and lifestyle changes it will take to remain healthy and have a successful recovery. The American Heart Association reports that around one million people each year suffer from heart attacks, and roughly half of that number survives afterwards. The good news is that due to advances in patient care, cardiac surgery, and medical knowledge, those seniors and older adults who suffer heart attacks and survive can go on to enjoy many more years of a healthy, full, active life.
Depending on the severity of the heart attack and resulting damage to the heart, recovery may be relatively swift, allowing you or your loved one to return to normal activities soon after being released from the hospital. Some patients are able to resume their normal lives one to three weeks afterwards. Others may need more time, either in a hospital setting or at home with care. Seniors over the age of 65 who suffer a heart attack may need up to eight weeks, possibly more, to recover, due to being more prone to complications and living less active lives than younger people.
Medications are going to be one of the most important things immediately after a heart attack. Because many people who fail to take their medications as prescribed, following all instructions from their doctor and pharmacist, frequently end up back in the hospital, it is important to ensure medication compliance. Common medications prescribed after a heart attack will include statins, ACE inhibitors, beta blockers, and aspirin.
Lifestyle changes will also need to be made following a heart attack. Medications are not the only help you’ll need getting back on your feet in fighting form.
Regular exercise not only strengthens the heart and other muscles, but it provides more energy and lowers levels of stress, raising emotional health. Because overtaxing the heart can be dangerous for a heart attack patient, consult your physician before beginning any program of exercise. They can conduct what is called a stress test, determining a healthy and safe amount of exercise for you to undertake. It is generally recommended that patients get more physical exercise after the attack than they were before.
Dietary changes are another important lifestyle change. A healthy diet, one low in saturated fat and salt, high in fiber, and rich in fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, fish, and low fat dairy, is one of the best ways to lower the risk of another heart attack.
After a heart attack, there will likely be some emotional changes in addition to the physical ones. It is normal for heart attack survivors to feel fearful, resentful, or upset. Spending time in a hospital or having to rely on others for care can make one feel stressed. This is normal and may last up to six months.