Often a heart attack has consequences that change the life of the person affected. These include, for example, chronic heart failure or depression. Proper aftercare after a heart attack helps to prevent such consequences. The cooperation of the patient is also decisive: With a healthy lifestyle, heart attack consequences can often be prevented. Read more about the possible consequences of a heart attack and its prevention.
Acute heart attack episodes
As acute heart attack episodes occur in very many patients Arrhythmia on. They are the most common complication after an acute heart attack. Cardiac arrhythmias often occur in the form of a very fast, unrhythmic heartbeat (tachyarrhythmia). This can lead to atrial fibrillation or life-threatening ventricular fibrillation.
Among the potential heart attack episodes is the agood heart failure (especially the left heart failure). The heart can not pump enough blood through the body then.
Rarely does the heart attack cause a heart attack Part of the heart wall tears.
The first 48 hours after a heart attack are the most critical period for threatening complications. In about 40 percent of those affected, heart attack causes death within the first day (often due to fibrillation).
Long-term heart attack episodes
Quite a few patients develop a temporary one after a heart attack depression, A healthy and active way of life can prevent the continuing depression.
If a lot of muscle dies as a result of the heart attack, it will develop over time chronic heart failure (chronic heart failure): The dead heart muscle tissue is replaced by scar tissue, which impairs cardiac function. The larger the scarred area, the worse the heart pumps. Many small heart attacks can lead to heart failure over time (“small vessel disease”).
The scarring of myocardial tissue after a heart attack can also lead to a heart attack Bulging of the heart wall in the affected area (cardiac wall aneurysm) forms: the scar tissue can not follow the heart movements correctly in contrast to the healthy heart muscle tissue. It gets overstretched and overgrown over time.
Blood clots can easily form in this area. If these are carried along with the blood stream, they can clog a vessel somewhere in the body (embolism). If this happens in the brain, a stroke develops. Drugs that inhibit blood clotting reduce the risk of such heart attack consequences.
Rehabilitation after heart attack
A rehabilitation (short: rehab) is to help people with heart disease as well as possible to get well and healthy again – physically and emotionally. This allows patients to return to their everyday and social lives. Also, the risk of heart attack episodes, as described above, should be lowered by the rehab.
However, rehabilitation also aims to relieve the burden on the healthcare system: The care and training of heart attack patients, for example, should prevent preventable hospital stays and enable them to return to work.
Four therapeutic fields of cardiac rehab
Rehabilitation patients are cared for in four areas that are closely linked:
- Somatic (physical) area: Cardiac patients are treated and monitored by a cardiologist. This includes the treatment of risk factors for a new heart attack (high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, etc.). An individualized body training is also useful: A heart attack is often followed by a restriction of physical performance and endurance. By contrast, regular exercise can help improve the patient’s resilience and heart health. For this a so-called aerobic endurance training is suitable. Some cardiac patients are also recommended a controlled strength training.
- Educational area: Specialists (mostly doctors and psychologists) advise cardiac patients on a healthy lifestyle. They give tips for a healthy diet, for the reduction of overweight and smoking cessation. In addition, those affected learn why the regular intake of medication is important and what complications and side effects can occur. This point is especially important for people taking anticoagulants. Overall, the motto of the measures is: Promote adherence and strengthen the heart!
- Psychic area: Common heart attack episodes are psychological problems (such as fears of one’s own health or partnership problems). Therapists help the affected person to mentally process the heart attack and overcome possible conflicts. This is very important because emotional problems harm the heart. The treatment of mental illnesses such as depression are also part of the therapy concept. Sometimes relatives are included in the therapy.
Social area: A socio-medical care is to help patients after a heart attack to re-enter the social and professional life. The therapists give information and tips on different areas such as driving, air travel and sexuality. The life partner can also participate in the consultation.
This is how the cardiac rehab expires
The rehabilitation of heart patients after a heart attack is usually divided into three sections:
ThePhase I starts already in the (acute) hospital. The goal is to mobilize the affected person as soon as possible after the heart attack. In case of uncomplicated course of the stay in the acute hospital takes about seven days.
ThePhase II (follow-up treatment) either inpatient in a rehabilitation clinic or outpatient in a therapy center. The program includes, for example, exercise therapy, reduction of fears, healthy lifestyle, preparation for reintegration into work and stress testing.
ThePhase III includes lifelong aftercare and care for heart attack patients at home – usually by registered physicians. The affected person should again participate in everyday and professional life and be limited as little as possible by heart attack episodes. A good way for contacts and exchanges with other patients are ambulatory heart groups. Also important are medical medical procedures that should avoid premature retirement or long-term care.
Diet after heart attack
Heart-healthy food does not have to taste like forbidden or boring. If the tongue is lured with the Mediterranean cuisine, this food tastes of holiday and sun. The secret of this cuisine is: The food from the Mediterranean countries contains many vegetable foods (pasta, vegetables, herbs, garlic, fruits), low animal products and high-quality vegetable fat (for example olive oil).
But for a heart-healthy meal, you can also orientate yourself to the east: Chinese cuisine, for example, is mostly prepared with low-fat wok and is predominantly vegetarian.
Fruits and vegetables have a heart-protecting effect with various so-called phytochemicals. For example, lycopene is considered to be a proper care product for attacked blood vessels. It is abundant in tomatoes. A similar positive effect have the so-called polyphenols in red wine. If and how much alcohol you can drink after a heart attack, you should discuss it with your doctor.
Sports after a heart attack
Sport is very effective in heart attack episodes such as reduced fitness and decreased muscle strength. Discuss with your doctor, how much and what heart sport you should udn should. For example, ball gymnastics, walking, swimming and training on a bicycle ergometer are suitable.
You can also join a cardio group and work out with other patients. Heart groups guarantee safety, because there is always a doctor. Moreover, they are a shelter in which anyone without shame can improve his still limited capacity. So you can slowly increase the physical fitness for everyday life, such as climbing stairs, in which the pulse goes up.
Part of the heart attack episodes is the fear of many sufferers to overload themselves during sex. Sex is physically comparable to a physical exercise. The heart sport is thus the ideal preparation to enjoy this beautiful effort again without fear.
Follow your feelings!
Doctors recommend for everyday life after the heart attack: Follow her feeling! It has long been proven that unhappy people overwhelm their insecurities and unfulfilled needs with substitute actions. This can be, for example, lavish food, smoking, alcohol or burying in the work. However, such alleged aids against unhappiness can quickly become a habit and endanger health.
So listen in and make sure you find your true needs and desires. They can often be fulfilled almost as easily as the substitute actions. A long-delayed conversation with the partner, a holiday in your favorite country, time for yourself and others, all of which does the soul good and helps, harmful Heart Attack Follow to avoid.