Heart Attack Recovery: Physical Stress (Part 1 of 2) | HealthiNation

Uploaded by HealthiNation on 20.01.2012

HOST: Hello, and welcome to HealthiNation. I’m
Malachy Cleary. Whether you or a loved one has had a heart attack, it’s an incredibly
scary experience. And, it’s tough after the heart attack. It’s normal to worry about
whether it might happen again, and how your lifestyle might change. We know you have questions
about life after a heart attack… We’ll walk you through the recovery process, and
talk about some things you can do to lower your risk of having another one.
Here’s Dr. Holly Phillips with more.
PHYSICIAN: Surviving a heart attack , which is also called Myocardial Infarction, doesn't
mean that life as you once knew it is over. In fact, most people resume full, active lives.
The most important step to recovery is to reduce or eliminate factors that put you at
risk for another one. These include high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, physical
inactivity, obesity and diabetes. Patience and a positive attitude are a major part of
recovery, too. If you’ve had a heart attack, you probably know that that one or more of
the arteries that feed your heart muscle became partially or completely blocked by deposits
called plaque. Plaque is made up of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other cellular matter circulating
in your blood. Over time, the plaque can narrow and harden arteries and restrict the flow
of blood. It can also become brittle and break up, forming blood clots that block the flow
of blood in the heart's arteries. .After one of these events, rest is important. But, it’s
just as important for you to be around friends and family, even if you’re not feeling social.
Eventually, once you’ve discussed it with your doctor, you’ll likely need to make
physical activity a part of your daily life. In fact, your doctor might suggest that you
exercise more than you did before the attack. It’s typical to feel some chest pain during
or right after physical exertion, intense emotion or overeating. But not everyone will
have chest pain, but if you do, it should feel like a twinge or pressure. It should
also disappear quickly. Nevertheless, if you’re having ANY chest pains, it’s best to be
cautious and tell your doctor. There are exercises and medication that can help ease or prevent
the pain. In fact, one of the best things you can do for yourself is participate in
a cardiac rehabilitation program. Research shows that these programs lower cardiac death
rates and additional incidents. In fact, the rate of cardiac death is 26 percent lower
in rehabilitation patients who were exercise-trained. These programs often take place at a hospital
with a rehabilitation team or with the help of your doctor, nurse or other health professional.
And because they’re medically supervised, they’ll help you and your loved ones feel
less alone and helpless. They can also speed the recovery process significantly and help
you regain a sense of wellbeing and optimism about the future. Cardiac rehabilitation programs
usually involve:
Counseling to help you understand and manage your disease.
Developing an exercise program that’s best for you.
Guidance on physical limitations. Individual or group support to help smokers
quit. Relaxation techniques to help manage and reduce
stress. Visits with a nutritionist to help you create
a healthy eating plan. A personal exercise program helps the heart muscle regain its
strength. As you exercise, your doctor may monitor your heart with an EKG, or electrocardiogram,
to make sure your heart isn’t working too hard. Another benefit of medically-supervised
exercise training is improved blood vessel function, blood flow to the heart, and reduced
risk of blood clots.