Recovering at home - initial recovery and lifestyle changes
It is natural to have fears about the future and to worry, especially when you have just left the protective environment of the hospital. Try to concentrate on the positive things (such as having come through the worst) and focus on getting stronger every day.
The heart has great capacity to heal - within a couple of weeks a scar will form in the damaged area. Often your heart can recover and is able to work just as well as before.
The sooner you can get up and about the sooner you will feel better. You must not push yourself too hard but you must not allow yourself to become afraid of activity.
Try to keep yourself busy with light hobbies such as reading, watching TV, using the PC and listening to the radio. Keep in touch with people by telephone, text or email, and have friends to visit when you feel up to it - the company may help to lift your spirits and stop you dwelling on what has happened.
Changes to your lifestyle
It's wrong to think that having a heart attack means it is already too late and that the damage is done.
It is much better to think about this as a new start and another chance - a chance to take responsibility for the things you can change, and to work together with doctors and nurses to control the things you can't.
The best way to prevent another heart attack is to understand what caused the first one and take steps to reduce your risk of having another heart attack.
There are certain things that increase your risk of developing heart disease. These are called risk factors.
Risk factors are not the cause of your heart attack but they have contributed to your heart attack happening. In other words, by reducing these risk factors you can reduce your overall risk of heart disease.
Some risk factors are to do with things you cannot alter, e.g. family history, age, ethnic origin. However, many risk factors are to do with the way you lead your life and habits that you have created. With a bit of effort you can change your lifestyle and habits can be broken.
Identify, honestly any of the things in your life that you can do something about to improve things:
- Do you smoke?
- Do you know your blood pressure?
- Do you know your cholesterol level?
- Do you eat a healthy varied diet?
- Do you take enough exercise?
- Are you overweight?
- Do you drink too much alcohol?
- Do you control your stress levels?
- Do you use recreational drugs such as cocaine?
The important thing to remember is that it is never too late to reduce your risk of another heart attack and there is support available to help you make any necessary changes.
To keep you motivated try printing off the 6 week checklist.
If there are boxes that you have not ticked, and you would like to, try to work out how you can achieve these goals.Back to top