When a heart attack strikes – and for hundreds of thousands of people, that’s going to be sometime this year – there’s no time to plan a course of action or contemplate the everyday ways in which life will change afterwards. As with anything, the best defense is a good offense, and being prepared now can (literally!) save a lot of heartache later.
Hopefully neither you nor your senior loved ones will be impacted by a heart attack or heart disease, but just in case, it’s a good idea to jot down and keep these questions handy for future reference:
- Will I have to give up my favorite activities? Bed rest isn’t always best, and it’s very likely you’ll be able to gradually get back into pastimes you enjoy. It’s important to let your doctor know about any hobbies, interests, and exercise regimens you’d like to resume, and he or she can help you work towards that goal.
- What dietary changes will be needed? It’s important to work with the doctor to put together a dietary plan that’s not only heart-healthy, but one that you can stick with long-term. Keeping salt and fat to a minimum is crucial, but doesn’t mean you necessarily have to avoid them altogether.
- How can my loved ones help? Select several trusted family members and friends to help hold you accountable to your lifestyle changes, and to support you emotionally as you adjust to these changes.
- Can I still travel? There’s really no one answer that fits all when it comes to traveling after a heart attack. A general rule of thumb is often to avoid traveling by air for at least two weeks after placement of a stent. Having a discussion with your cardiologist about when and where you’d like to travel is always a good idea, to weigh out the risks vs. the benefits.
- What are the long-term effects I can expect? The goal, of course, is to prevent another heart attack, which means ongoing, periodic medical appointments and testing. Following your doctor’s prescribed dietary and treatment plan will go a long way towards keeping you healthy in the years to come.
North River Home Care in Norwell, MA provides expert assistance and support to heart attack survivors, including preparing heart-healthy meals, running errands such as picking up groceries and prescriptions, and offering encouragement with adhering to an exercise regimen. Contact us any time at (781) 659-1366 for more tips, resources, and in-home care services.