Living with heart disease

Receiving a diagnosis of heart disease can be a challenge for you and your family. On the path to recovery, you can experience successes, or face obstacles and pitfalls. By knowing what to expect, you will be better able to face the challenges.

To the hospital
Once admitted to the hospital, you may end up in the intensive care unit and then in a room. If you have had a heart attack, your heart will have suffered some damage. The duration of your convalescence will depend on the severity of the damage to your heart, your physical and emotional health, and your support system, such as your family, friends and caregivers.

At the hospital, your health care team will encourage you to regain your independence by washing and dressing alone, sitting in an armchair, taking steps in the corridors and climbing and descending stairs. These activities will be spread over a whole day and will increase gradually until you are ready to go home.

Cardiac Rehabilitation
Before leaving the hospital, or likely during your stay, you may be referred to a cardiac rehabilitation program, which usually includes exercises, education and counseling to help you live healthier and reduce your risk of Subsequent cardiac problems.

Returning home

Once back home, do not be surprised if you feel more tired than usual. Your body is still convalescent, it must be taken into account. Rest whenever you feel the need and do not hesitate to ask for help. Whether you are a worker, a retiree or a homemaker, you will need to take time off, so ask family, friends or neighbors to help you with shopping, cooking and housework. Although it is normal for you to feel quickly tired during the first weeks of convalescence, be on the lookout for any unusual signs and call your doctor if you:

  • Feel symptoms of angina during reduced activity or rest
  • You wake up at night with angina, or if your angina is more frequent or more severe
  • Take nitroglycerin more often or if you need to take more, because it is not acting as quickly as before
  • You feel breathless
  • Note that your ankles or legs are swollen
  • You feel dizzy, if you lose consciousness or if your heart beats fast or very loud
  • Take 2.3 kg (5.06 lbs) or more in a week.

Activities
Over time, you will be able to resume several activities that you practiced before. Consult with your doctor to find out how to resume your various activities such as driving, returning to work, flying and the activitySexual orientation. In the early stages of convalescence, be careful when you:

  • Take a bath or shower very hot or very cold
  • Raise heavy objects
  • Push or pull while holding your breath
  • Work for extended periods of time with your arms above your head
  • Make repetitive arm movements such as raking, digging, mowing the lawn or vacuuming

 

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