June 13, 2019

Recovery After a Heart Attack

Understanding What Happens After a Heart Attack

For people who have survived what is technically known as a myocardial infarction (MI) and their families, the first question is often, “What happens after a heart attack?” Certainly, life after a heart attack will be different. For example, changes in lifestyle and new medications may be required. Some people may also experience psychological challenges like depression or fear of the return of symptoms after a heart attack. Other issues like obstructive sleep apnea can occur as well. However, the good news is that for most people, what to expect after a mild heart attack or even a more serious one is a new approach to life that allows for many happy years with family and friends.

Understanding the Heart Attack Recovery Period

The heart can recover after an MI, but it takes time. The heart attack recovery period varies based on many things including the person’s health before the event, the degree of damage done to the heart and other factors. Of course, the massive heart attack recovery period is longer than the mild heart attack recovery period. Generally speaking, people who plan to return to work will be able to do so in anywhere from two weeks to three months after a heart attack. How carefully a patient follows their recovery plan also affects how long it takes to recover from a heart attack.

Diet and Exercise After a Heart Attack

An important aspect of recovery is a person’s diet after a heart attack. Their care team will talk with them about what to eat after a heart attack. Typically, this includes more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Getting the right amount of protein and minimal dietary cholesterol and sodium is important as well.

With guidance from your care team, it’s also important to exercise after a heart attack. Initially, physical activity may be limited to attending to personal hygiene and walking around in the house. As your strength slowly returns, your doctor will let you know when you can drive a car, return to work and resume other activities. Sex after a heart attack can typically be resumed after a few weeks.

If you have questions about your heart health, schedule an appointment, and find a Heart Care Doctor today.

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