Cardiac Rehab after Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack)
Coronary artery disease is caused by a process called atherosclerosis where there is plaque build-up in the coronary arteries causing narrowing of these blood vessels. The patient will start to experience symptoms such as chest heaviness or pain (known as angina) during exercise or reduced exercise tolerance or the feeling breathless.
If untreated, the plaque will cause a total blockage of the blood flow to the heart known as Myocardial Infarction (MI) also known as Heart Attack which can lead to sudden death.
Coronary artery disease must be treated early with angioplasty (or coronary artery bypass graft surgery if the blockages are severe) to open up the blockage with a stent. (click to learn more about angioplasty)
The risk factors associated with atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease are:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney failure
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Family history of heart disease
After angioplasty or cardiac surgery for myocardial infarction, patients must take medication for life long to prevent a recurrent episode. They are also encouraged to follow some form of Multi-Faceted Cardiac Rehabilitation Program to improve the chances of recovery and prevent future blockages.
Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
A Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is designed to help you improve your quality of life and help you recover after a heart attack or heart procedure or surgery to treat your heart disease. It involves changing your diet, lifestyle changes and regular exercise and having emotional support. The goal of the program is empower you to change from your old lifestyle to new healthier future life.
Do consult a dietician to discuss and where necessary change to a more healthy diet to encompass more fruits and vegetables and less red meat, fat and sugar. This can be take the form of changing actual food ingredients or modifying cooking techniques depending on your risk factors. (Click here to learn more about diet for different conditions). If you smoke, you are strongly advised to quit smoking.
Do consult a fitness trainer or physiotherapist to help you lose weight and achieve a healthy BMI for yourself. Exercise can be fun if done with like-minded friends. Your doctor will advise how and when to start your exercises gently in the beginning (Click to learn more about exercise)
Mental Health De-Stress
Do speak to a mental health professional such as a counsellor or psychologist to help you manage your stress or anger issues in your everyday life. A life filled with stress increases the risk of heart disease, cholesterol, stroke and even cancer. Sometimes, you may feel depressed or demoralised after a heart attack and you may benefit from speaking to a counsellor. (click to learn more about stress)
Do see your doctor regularly to check your heart function, blood tests, ECG (or heart stress test) to monitor your recovery. Do NOT stop any medication which has been prescribed by your doctor.
Disclaimer. TELEME blog posts contains general information about health conditions and treatments. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such.
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