Heart attacks are an immensely distressing experience. A huge amount of people go through heart attacks at some point, usually later in life, but not always. Men tend to suffer heart attacks more commonly than women, but this doesn’t mean women can’t go through this horrific experience, too. In the worst case scenario, heart attacks can be fatal, but if they are treated in a timely manner people can make a full recovery. The recovery process is not quick or simple, and in this article, we’re looking into the rehabilitation, either at home or in a specific rehabilitation center.
What is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is when the blood supply going to the heart becomes blocked. It is ordinarily caused by clotting within the blood, often in one of the main arteries. However, causes of heart attacks can be due to several medical issues.
Once the heart stops getting the blood it needs to function, it can experience damage and can even cause loss of life.
There are numerous symptoms when a heart attack is being suffered. They can differ slightly from person to person, but usually include:
- Chest pressure and pain. It feels like the chest is being squeezed or contorted.
- Other pains such as shooting pains in the arm, jaw and neck going to the chest.
- Trouble breathing and shortness of breath.
- Anxiety and panic attack symptoms.
- Feeling faint.
Some people don’t experience all of the symptoms, and sometimes people can mistake their pains as being angina or even indigestion.
There are some more unusual causes of heart attacks such as drug abuse and hypoxia, a condition where not enough oxygen is in the bloodstream. Most people who suffer from heart attacks have CHD or Coronary Heart Disease. The heart attack is then caused by a rupture in the artery which creates a clot, stopping the blood flow.
There is an element of genetics here and some people are more susceptible than others to have a heart attack. However, a huge impacting factor is a lifestyle. Things that can make you more likely to have a heart attack include:
- Poor diet.
- High cholesterol.
Treatment of heart attacks can include medication which is designed to thin the blood and to break down the clots. Alternatively, surgery including fitting a catheter (a balloon which can inflate and break down blockages) a stent may be fitted through the arteries in the groin or the wrist. Bypass surgery may also be required, when the veins near the clot are sewn together to allow blood to flow a different route to the heart.
Recovery in a Hospital or Rehabilitation Center
Recovery and rehab from a heart attack should never be rushed. Returning to physical activities including work should be eased back into. The first thing that should happen is that doctors and medical professionals will work out what medications you will be put on. If you are in a rehabilitation center, this can be closely monitored and adjusted. There may be a combination of drugs prescribed including Beta Blockers and Statins which can reduce your level of cholesterol.
Physical activity needs to be undertaken after suffering a heart attack, but you need to be eased back into it. In a rehab center this is another thing that can be closely monitored and advised upon by medical professionals. Simple activities like short walks on a treadmill may be advised.
Other aspects such as altering your diet, quitting smoking or adjusting your lifestyle in other ways should be addressed. The key benefit of a rehabilitation center is taking the time with doctors and staff to help work out what will be best for your own unique needs.
The recovery time in a center can be between two weeks and three months. It varies from person to person. Some will need more drastic changes to their lifestyle than others, too. Having helped to draft meals and monitor your health can be priceless, especially for the elderly.
Recovering at Home
Full recovery at home is also possible, as long as you follow closely the advice of your doctors. Things like medication should not be experimented with, and it is important to make regular hospital trips and follow instructions to the word when you are recovering from such an ordeal. For example, you may need to evaluate your heart health from time to time by ultrasound procedure that provides your doctor with correct images due to clear ultrasound gel.
Recovery at home means you will have to figure more of the aspects out for yourself, with advice from doctors. You need to gradually increase your levels of exercise, choose nutritious, heart-healthy foods which can aid your health and recovery, and also get plenty of rest. At home, it can be more difficult to know if you are doing the right things to aid your recovery.
Many people also suffer from depression and other mental health issues as a result of their heart attack. Medical attention should be sought if you find yourself going through these issues.