A heart attack is not the death sentence it once was. While it is a life-threatening and life-changing, medical condition, many survive a heart attack and go on to live healthy and long lives. The chances are higher than ever that one can survive a heart attack and undergo a complete rehabilitation, though factors such as age and overall health of the victim play a huge role. However, with a rehabilitation plan, sufferers can go on to have a full recovery.
Take it easy: Often, a young person who bikes and hikes all the time will not take it easy after a heart attack. For example, when a 55-year old man has one, he will often get back to surfing and riding his bike within a matter of weeks. Workaholics will often head back to their desk a week after suffering from a heart attack, and this is too soon, especially for people with stressful jobs. It may take up to three months before a doctor will give permission for his or her patient to return to work, and it is advisable to avoid sex or other physical activities for, at minimum, two weeks. While it's great to have zest and want to get back out there, it's imperative to take it easy and listen to the doctor.
Medications: With the right medication, a patient can see a faster recovery. The medications a doctor prescribes largely depends on the seriousness of the event and the other risk factors such as weight, blood pressure and fasting glucose levels. A doctor will typically prescribe medications to fight high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Other times, a patient will want to take medication to lose weight or deal with his or her diabetes. To have the quickest recovery, it is important to listen to the doctor and take all medications prescribed. Medication is just one part of the recovery process, and it is important to use it only as an overall part of recovery and not rely solely on it.
Cardiac rehabilitation program: An important part of recovery is entering a cardiac rehabilitation program. Here, medical professionals can monitor the patient and educate him or her about lifestyle changes such as how to diet properly. By going to a cardiac rehabilitation program, a patient will receive regular readings of important metrics such as blood pressure rate, waist circumference, Body Mass Index, as well as cholesterol and glucose readings. It helps to know these numbers well beyond rehab as a patient who strives to live a healthy life is less likely to have another heart attack.
Exercise: Realistically, to enjoy long-term success, a patient needs to alter his or her lifestyle. Once cleared by a medical professional, it is important to start exercising. If the patient is in good enough shape, he or she should consider jogging, swimming, tennis or hiking. An older or out shape person may want to consider walking around the neighborhood, at least to start. Any unusual symptoms such as weak limbs, chest pain or prolonged shortness of breath merit a 911 call as it could be the beginning of another heart attack.
Don't forget diet: People who eat healthy diets are less likely to have medical problems, including heart attacks. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, it is best to eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat meats and plenty of whole grains. Rather than follow a fad diet, a patient should try to eat well and lose weight, or keep the weight off. Of course, it should go without saying, smoking is bad, and anyone who wants to be healthier needs to kick the habit.
The long-term outlook for a heart attack victim is not great, though with a common sense approach and a long-term plan, in accordance with the advice of a doctor, many patients will go on to live a normal, healthy and happy life.