The average heart attack recovery time differs from one case to the other. Certain health measures need to be taken in order to help speed up the recovery.
Life changes once you have suffered a heart attack, it’s the last thing anyone expects and dealing with the shock can be very tough for some people. It’s often said that time heals all wounds and this analogy stands true when it comes to recovering from the trauma of heart attacks. The time taken to make a full recovery, will depend a lot on the state of your health post the attack. It will have a lot to do with how your body is coping with the weakness. For the first two weeks or more, you will be advised complete bed rest.
It takes about 3-4 months to return to some level of normalcy after a heart attack. During which time, your doctor will frame a recovery chart for you to follow. This chart usually consists of permissible activities with different Metabolic Equivalents (METs) levels allotted to them. These levels are numbered on the basis of the total energy needed to do those activities. The initial 4 weeks will require that you do not do activities that have MET’s beyond 3.5. Activities that have a low MET include sitting on a chair, taking small walks, driving the car, showering, and ironing clothes.
The other essential requisite would be to keep a check on your diet. A healthy diet would prevent high blood pressure as well as diabetes from aggravating. You will have to give up all high calorie foods, not consume sugar, and control your overall salt intake. You will need to quit drinking alcohol and smoking as these will further aggravate your condition and make you more vulnerable to future health problems.
Exercise is a Must
Another essential requisites is to start doing the exercises suggested by your doctor. There is a common myth among heart patients that exercising will make them more susceptible to heart attacks. However, in reality, doctors ask their heart attack patients to begin slow exercises within 2 weeks from the attack. This is because, exercising makes the heart muscles stronger because the muscles get to perform their actual functions again. The heart pumps oxygenated blood which purifies its arteries, and keeps the arteries free from blockage and cholesterol.
Your doctor will make you undergo a stress test, wherein, you will have to walk on a treadmill as well as do some basic body exercises. On the basis of your performance, he will suggest some activities you must do and some you must refrain from trying. Your activities will progress as when there is improvement in your health. Though, it is important to ensure that you do not exert yourself. Doctor’s recommend that exercising 3-4 times a week will be more than sufficient for ensuring a speedy recovery and good health.
Safety while Exercising
Start with slow stretching exercises so as to warm up the body. You must immediately stop exercising and call your doctor if any of these symptoms appear.
- Stop exercising immediately if you feel pain in your chest, arms, neck, or upper back while exercising.
- Sudden palpitation of the heart or experience difficulty in breathing.
- Feel nauseous and dizzy.
- Experience swelling in any part of the body.
It is also important that you try and enroll into a cardiac rehabilitation program that will teach you how to lead a healthier lifestyle.