I frequently come across patients of heart disease who have created a barrier between themselves and their lives ahead. It is my belief if a person is more aware of his/her situation and also know about how the body works; it will help them to be more comfortable and confident about themselves.
If you are a cardiac patient, this piece of information might interest you.
What has my heart undergone?
If it was a heart attack, some part of your heart suffered permanent damage due to the time taken to reach a hospital and get appropriate therapy. Remember, if the damage is more, a heart attack may give rise to heart failure. Talk to your doctor to know more about the episode you have encountered.
If it was a cardiac intervention, like Angioplasty or pacemaker implantation, it is in the healing phase (remodelling). It will take some time to get back in shape, so take it easy!
Lastly, if you are coming out of cardiac surgery, your heart has gone through the inflammation and surgical handling. Be extra careful.
How should I manage the initial few days after discharge?
Your body and heart have gone through an incident, which is not normal. You are physically and emotionally impacted. Try to have someone around you; it will boost your confidence and will keep negative thoughts away. But don’t let them treat you like cotton candy. Try taking adequate rest and doing your washing and cleaning as a routine. As giving rest to your heart is essential, it is equally important that you continue to work on making your heart stronger. After all, your heart is a muscle!
Do I need to change my habits to avoid another episode?
The question can’t be answered to 100%, but yes you can always try to reduce the risk. These are the days to rethink about the bad habits, leaving them and concentrating on your lifestyle modification such as:
Reduce alcohol to moderation
Keep your body weight under control
Keep your blood pressure, sugar levels and cholesterol levels under control
Eat a healthy diet of plenty of fruits and vegetables divided into 5 to 6 servings in a day (read more)
What about my daily activities and chores?
Gradually build up your activities
Rest if you get tired or breathless
Try increasing the amount of activity each day
Avoid exercise after Heavy Meals, High Altitudes, and Extremes of Weather
Light housework can be started as soon as one feels fit
Heavier housework may follow a few weeks later
Can I start driving and get back to my job immediately?
Two wheelers require more balancing, so may be avoided for the initial few days. Four wheelers can be driven as soon as one feels fit to sit behind the wheels.
Getting back to the job requires a bit waiting. Elective interventions, the patients can go back to work with a few days of the procedure. If recovering a heart attack a period of 4 to 6 weeks is enough. Major surgeries may require up to 3 months, and may also need changing the nature of work to a light job henceforth.
Would my sex life be impacted due to cardiac ailment or surgery?
Most of the patients can return to a healthy sex life within a few days after discharge. At times it may give you some shortness of breath or chest pain, the rules of exercise will apply (stated above)
Few patients, however, may have a loss of sexual drive. The reason may either be emotional stress or the effect of certain medicines like Beta blockers. The Doctor may be consulted for the same.
Is it advisable for a heart patient to travel by air or go on adventurous holidays?
Most patients can start travelling flights after recovery. Only in the presence of recurring symptoms of shortness of breath or chest pain, one may avoid and/or seek medical help for optimization of therapy.
We encourage our patients to go on holiday after their recovery. However, one needs to avoid high altitudes and extremes of weathers. Also, plan a place where you can relax and enjoy.
Is there a counselling or rehab that I should go to improve my lifestyle?
Yes, at our Heart and Wellness Clinic we provide counselling sessions to all our patients. Those who want to get back to their normal life and improve their lifestyle they can come to our Cardiac Rehabilitation Center and enrol in our CARDIAC REHABILITATION PACKAGE (A supervised plan and counselling by Dietician, Physical fitness expert, Life Coach and Cardiologist). You can also avail our MediRitual plan to help in core healing and reducing medicines with time.
Stay Happy, Stay Healthy...
Dr Ruchi Gupta