It is possible for many people to survive heart attack and live normal life (active and full, although with changed lifestyle). If heart attack victim get medical attention quickly (preferably within one hour of heart attack), the damage can be minimized. Less damage to heart muscles in a heart attack improves chances of living normal life (or near normal life as practicable) after heart attack. To live normal life after heart attack, the victim must follow certain steps and measures, which are:
Regular medical follow-ups:
Regular medical follow ups is the most important part of post heart attack management and to live a normal life. Regular follow up and strict following of your physicians instructions will help you prevent a subsequent attack. As part of your post heart attack management, your doctor will recommend lifestyle changes (such as physical activity, quitting smoking, eating a healthy and balanced diet, reduction of body weight if you are obese or overweight and maintain a normal body weight), medications (for high blood pressure, cholesterol lowering agents, drugs for chest pain/discomfort, anti-platelet drugs etc.) and cardiac rehabilitation program.
Coping with anxiety and depression after heart attack:
After heart attack it is obvious that many individuals will be worried about a subsequent heart attack, which may lead to depression and anxiety. There may also be problem in adjusting to new lifestyle changes that are recommended by your doctor. If you are anxious and depressed, it is important that you discuss your problems with your health care providers and your family members and friends. If discussion with healthcare providers, friends and family members do not help, you can think of professional counselors or think of taking psychiatric help as a last option. Remember, anxiety and depression will not allow you to lead normal life and post heart attack recovery will not be optimal. Hence, avoid anxiety and depression.
Risk of subsequent heart attack:
If you have a heart attack, you are at greater risk of next attack, than a person without a heart attack. If you do not change your lifestyle, do not take your medication as advised and if you are depressed or anxious, you are at great risk of next heart attack. Every subsequent heart attack, is generally more severe than the previous heart attack and lead to greater damage to heart muscles and increased disability. The symptoms of next heart attack may not be the same as the previous one. If you have any doubt about your new symptoms that may develop, contact emergency medical service immediately, without any delay, because any delay may prove to be fatal.
Returning to normal life after heart attack:
With proper care most people after heart attack can return to routine life within few weeks. Some can start walking right away after discharge from hospital. Talk to your doctor about returning to routine activities after a heart attack. Activities such as driving or sexual activity can take some more time, consult your doctor about driving and sexual activities after heart attack.
It is possible for most of heart attack victims to lead a normal life or near normal life after heart attack, provided treatment is received in time and follow-up and medications are taken as advised and lifestyle changes are strictly followed.