How Do You Take Care of Yourself After a Heart Attack?

For many people, having a heart attack is a life-changing experience. Taking care of yourself after a heart attack usually involves medications, cardiac rehab, and lifestyle modifications. Self-care should begin as soon as you leave the hospital and last for the rest of your life. Establishing a healthier diet, getting regular physical activity, losing weight, and monitoring your health can even allow you to feel better than you did before your heart attack.

What to Do When You Get Home from the Hospital After a Heart Attack?

After a heart attack, most people spend 2 days to a week in the hospital. You may need to stay for longer, however, if you need heart surgery or other procedures. When you get home, you will likely feel tired and week, and you may be dealing with some complex feelings. Get as much rest as you need but try to get back into a normal routine as soon as you can.

Remember to:

  • Get up at a normal time
  • Take a bath or shower
  • Change clothes
  • Rest at regular intervals

You should be able to walk around, climb stairs, do easy chores around the house, and see your friends. Do not drive until you have clearance from your doctor, but feel free to get out of the house and go to restaurants, movie theaters, and community events like church. Make sure to rest after physical activity.

Continue to practice any physical activity program you started in the hospital and take the medications your doctor prescribed. Start slow, perhaps in 10-minute intervals, and enjoy walks around the block with your family and friends.

If you have any concerns about recovery and readjustment, discuss them with your doctor.

Keep an Eye Out for CRPS

CRPS stands for complex regional pain syndrome, a form of chronic pain that can develop after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. If you start experiencing intense and unexplained pain in your arm, leg, hand, or foot, talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin color, texture, and temperature
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling, and damage
  • Muscle spasms and tremors
  • Muscle atrophy (weakness and loss)
  • Trouble moving the affected body part

No one knows what causes CRPS, but it often occurs after traumas or surgical errors. CRPS has also been linked to heart problems. Treatment for CRPS works best when administered early on, so talk to your doctor immediately if you experience any of the symptoms above.

If you are concerned about the care that you received while you were in the hospital after your heart attack, or your doctor fails to diagnose and treat CRPS, you may also want to talk to an attorney.

The Law Office of David A. Kates can help you explore your rights and legal options if your heart attack or hospital visit leads to CRPS.

Call us at (718) 866-3664 or contact us online for a free consultation.