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Recovering from a Heart Attack

Recovering from a Heart Attack

Having a heart attack can be a frightening experience, but with the appropriate recovery approach, it’s possible to return to normal life with productive activity. It’s important to understand that having a heart attack means you will have to make changes in your life, depending on how badly your heart was damaged and what degree of heart disease you have.

The time it takes to get back to your routine will depend on many factors, including your age and general health. But whatever your situation, there is much you can do to improve your health and prevent complications following a heart attack. I always tell my patients that the first step may be difficult, but it’s necessary – give yourself permission to recover. Accept that it may take a while to feel like yourself again. Expect to feel tired and worn down, since heart attack recovery is a gradual process.

Additional steps important to your heart attack treatment and recovery include:

  •  Avoid heavy work around the house and refrain from physical activity until your doctor gives you permission.
  • Get up and move around as you begin to recover. Your heart is a muscle that needs exercise, though very gently at first.
  •  Ask your doctor for a list of guidelines for activity during your first few weeks at home.
  • Use follow-up appointments as opportunity to ask any questions you may have about safe or unsafe activities, medicines and lifestyle changes.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you have symptoms related to your original heart disease, such as trouble breathing, chest pain, weakness, or an irregular heartbeat.

Get more information on heart attack recovery.

It’s important for everyone to be the captain of their own health care ship. Hebrew SeniorLife offers programs with the Healthy Living Center of Excellence in partnership with Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc. that focus on prevention care.

For more information about evidence-based approaches to managing your health care, contact Amanda Aprea (671-363-8702). If you have concerns about heart disease or other medical issues, contact your medical professional. 

Robert Schreiber, MD's picture

About the Blogger

Medical Director of Evidence-based Programs, Hebrew SeniorLife

Dr. Schreiber is Medical Director of Evidence-based Programs at Hebrew SeniorLife and Medical Director of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence, an organization funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and the Tufts Health Plan Foundation. He served as Physician-in-Chief and Chief Medical Officer at Hebrew SeniorLife from 2004 to 2012. He helped develop the strategic direction of Hebrew SeniorLife Medical Group, in-home and community-based services, and long-term and post-acute care.  He is a faculty member of the Institute for Aging Research at Hebrew SeniorLife and is working to...

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