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older woman recovering from a heart attack

What is a heart attack recovery time? Does it exist at all?

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The return of the patient to an active life also depends on the severity of the infarction. In most patients, complete recovery usually occurs about six weeks after the attack. This is the so-called hospital rehabilitation. After that, the patient comes home where, unfortunately, he is left to himself and where, if he does not continue proper rehabilitation, he can easily experience a new heart attack.

The one who survives a heart attack must re-examine his life, he must, first of all, understand how he has avoided the worst and that now a new, second life is actually beginning.

Although we have already discovered at the very beginning what the recovery period is, in the text that follows we will reveal more details about what is a heart attack recovery time and of course the best tips.

Here are some quick links to what we’ll cover in this article. If you’re in hurry, or for any other reason, feel free to use the quick links to jump straight to the section you want to read:

Why does a heart attack happen and what are its consequences?

Heart and blood vessel diseases are widespread and are the most common cause of death in the world’s population. Acute myocardial infarction (heart attack) is a life-threatening event and represents only one of the manifestations of ischemic heart disease.

heart attack illustration

It is a consequence of an obstruction of blood flow through the blood vessels of the heart (coronary arteries) that feed the heart muscle itself, ie the myocardium. This blood should be rich in oxygen since the heart muscle is extremely sensitive to its deficiency, and if it is not delivered in adequate quantities, the muscle dies and ischemia of the heart muscle occurs, which is clinically manifested by clinical signs of angina pectoris, and then, if blood is supplied, ie. oxygen continues to die (necrosis) of the heart muscle, ie. myocardial infarction.

The consequence of this is the formation of a scar on the heart muscle, which leads to damage to its function.

There are several risk factors for acute myocardial infarction. One of the most important is atherosclerosis, which is a pathological process in which there is an accumulation of fatty substances, cholesterol, parts of dead cells, and calcium in the inner wall of the artery.

The process of atherosclerosis is considered a normal aging process of blood vessels if it is verified in people after the age of 65. Atherosclerosis before the age of 65 causes accelerated aging of blood vessels, and then it significantly shortens life expectancy.

The causes of atherosclerosis are hyperlipidemia (increased blood fats) and all conditions associated with it (diabetes, obesity, thyroid disease), stress, smoking, decreased physical activity, excessive alcohol intake.

How do we know we’re having a heart attack?

It is typical for myocardial infarction pain to last over 20 minutes, not to stop using nitroglycerin linguals, not to stop by changing the position of the body or by pressing on the painful place.

an older man with chest pain sitting in the couch

Pain in myocardial infarction is accompanied by other symptoms: sweating, nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath (dyspnea), nausea, the feeling of irregular heartbeat (palpitations), as well as rapid breathing (tachypnea).

Timely recognition of the symptoms of acute myocardial infarction leads to satisfactory and optimal medical treatment, and the application of optimal therapy and rehabilitation leads to complete recovery.

People who have had an acute myocardial infarction have an increased risk of recurrence of a cardiovascular event within a year (stroke, recurrent acute myocardial infarction, stent thrombosis), and therefore should follow the doctor’s advice to change their lifestyle and take prescribed therapy regularly.

So what to do next?

First and foremost, harder physical activities should be eliminated forever, but that does not mean that complete inactivity and immobility are needed, especially for those with “sitting” occupations.

smiley older couple jogging outdoors

Studies have shown that jogging is most effective in rehabilitating such patients and preventing new heart attacks. The dosage of such efforts should be left to a physician experienced in the rehabilitation of cardiac patients. Running, or some other moderate recreational activity improves not only the physical but also the mental state of the patient, relieving him of fear and depression – such common symptoms in post-infarction conditions.

Excess weight should be seriously reduced because more kilograms burden the work of the heart. Weight loss should be gradual and under medical supervision. What we eat and how much is very important for the heart.

Don’t overdo it with fats in your diet, as cholesterol and saturated fats increase your risk of coronary heart disease. Let vegetative ones be found on your table more often, ie. vegetable oils. As much as possible, keep your blood pressure elevated at a steady level. Of course, with the help of a doctor.

Bad habits and recommended activities

Smoking increases the risk of heart disease, especially in men under the age of 50. Smokers are twice as likely to die of a heart attack than non-smokers.

Avoid mental tensions and stresses. Both can be reduced by greater physical activity. Physical work or movement is a safety valve to avoid mental tension. During recreational physical activity, a person is practically protected from the effects of psychological stress of the urban environment.

elderly couple lying and relaxing on the grass

However, do not participate in sports and games in which you need to compete.

Don’t overdo it with work commitments and use your vacation days and your days off regularly. Life should be orderly, with plenty of sleep at night and occasional daytime rest. If a patient who has overcome coronary heart disease has recovered well, he can do his job again. Doctors believe that most such patients can return even to jobs with great responsibility and great emotional burdens.

Patients who have had a heart attack are often very frightened, afraid of repeated heart attacks during sexual intercourse. Sometimes the partner is more concerned than the patient. However, giving up sex can also be a risk factor for a new heart attack. Sexual activity is not an excessive effort for the heart.

If the heart patient is well rehabilitated, if the relationship is performed under normal conditions (without experimentation and extremes), then patients really do not have to fear a sudden “sweet death”. Therefore, wit in your head and boldly forward!

Visiting a doctor and drug therapy

Lastly, the medication prescribed by your doctor should be used properly and in a disciplined manner.

elderly woman visiting a doctor after a heart attack

In any case, from one month to 6 weeks is usually a sufficient period of time for the patient to return to work. However, in certain cases (the most severe forms of heart attacks or patients who require additional treatment), it is possible to refer the patient to the Commission for the assessment of workability.

As far as drug therapy is concerned, after an acute myocardial infarction, it is necessary to take at least 4 to 5 classes of drugs, all with the goal of preventing a new infarction, and even a fatal outcome. Some of the drugs are prescribed as a short-term therapy, while some are taken for life (acetylsalicylic acid). It is important that the therapy is not changed and/or stopped voluntarily, ie. on its own but only in consultation with the attending physician.

Also, regular monitoring of arterial pressure and maintaining it in the reference range is necessary, because sudden jumps in arterial pressure can cause a new rupture of atherosclerotic plaque and the formation of a new attack.

Life after a heart attack is possible with a preserved quality of life if the patient follows the doctor’s advice and tries to modify the risk factors for the development of a new myocardial infarction.

That’s it!

We hope this post helped you learn what is a heart attack recovery time, what causes this disease as well as its symptoms, and of course, to get tips for recovering.

We think that it will be very interesting and important for you to look at our texts about what happens when you have a heart attack, as well as what are the signs of stroke and the best prevention tips.

And if you are looking for more ways to improve your heart health, you should check our other great Majota Blog posts.

Also, if you have any questions or feel that there is some other important information about heart attack recovery we have not listed, feel free to leave a comment, it will mean a lot to us and we will be grateful for it.


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2 thoughts on “What is a heart attack recovery time? Does it exist at all?”

  1. Hi Majota

    Thanks a lot for your informative post on heart attack and heart attack recovery time! It is also good to know that smoking can directly affect our hearts as well. Previously, I only associate smoking with lungs. My relative should read this post and try his best to stop smoking because his heart is also not working really well!

    Thanks again,

    Grace

    1. Borislav, Majota HealthCare

      Hi Grace.

      Thanks for the positive comment, it means a lot to us. Yes, you are right. Unfortunately, smoking is a very harmful habit that most people do not take seriously, and when we realize how serious it really is or we get some unwanted symptoms, in most cases, it is too late. In any case, prevention, healthy life, and a healthy diet are the key to avoiding this vicious disease such as heart attack.

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