Heart attack or a Cardiac procedure like PTCA (angioplasty or stenting) or CABG (Bypass surgery) with or without heart attack is a serious and major event in any body’s life.

Though it is possible for the majority to go back to their routine life within 2 weeks after heart attack or PTCA and within 4 weeks after CABG, it is important that they take some precautions and adopt a healthy life style to lead a healthy and happy life and for secondary prevention of cardiac events.

Things to do after Heart attack / PTCA / CABG:

1. Drug compliance:

Adherence to medication as prescribed by the doctor is very important after a cardiac event. These medicines have various important functions like preventing blood clotting and occlusion of stents, decreasing the cholesterol levels for further prevention of events and problems elsewhere in the vascular territory, for optimising heart function and relief of symptoms. Please consult your doctor if you stop or want to stop any medication for whatever reason.

2. Physical activity:

3. Diet:

4. Habits and addictions:

Cessation of smoking and all forms of tobacco usage is very important to prevent further cardiac events. If possible, cessation or at least moderation of alcohol intake is very important to preserve health.

5. Weight reduction:

If obese, it is important to lose weight. The goal BMI is ≤ 25. But, losing even 5 to 10% of the body weight also certainly reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke.

6. Reducing the stress:

Excessive stress / anxiety / anger is linked with increased risk of heart problems. It is important to learn stress management / relaxation techniques / yoga / meditation to help lower the stress levels.

7. Adequate rest:

Adequate rest is very important and can be achieved by inculcating healthy sleep habits and decreasing the anxiety and stress.

Healthy sleep habits include having consistent sleep timings daily and allotting 7 to 8 hours for sleep, avoiding electronic gadgets before sleep, keeping the bedroom quiet and relaxing and at a comfortable temperature and without bright lights, avoiding large meals before sleep, avoiding caffeine in the evening and later, avoid consuming alcohol late evening and reduce fluid intake before bedtime and reduce daytime naps.

8. Other medical conditions:

It is equally important to take care of other medical problems like Diabetes, Hypertension, Hypothyroidism, Hyperlipidemia etc.

Some of the goals are:

9. Driving after a cardiac event:

10. Travelling:

11. Sexual activity recommendations:

If a person can do 5 to 6 METS of physical activity comfortably, sexual activity can be undertaken safely. Most patients who recovered from a heart attack without complications can perform sexual activity when they feel comfortable to do so usually after 1 to 2 weeks.

12. Regular follow ups:

Regular follow ups as advised by your doctor is very important for assessment, dose adjustment and for optimising treatment benefit.

13. Do not ignore or hide symptoms:

Complications in this group of patients can be life threatening. Any symptom that may occur at any uncomfortable time or location, especially any form of chest pain or breathlessness should not be ignored and should be immediately brought to the notice of your doctor and rule out any significant problem.

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