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What To Expect After A Mild Heart Attack

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Quick treatment to get the blood flowing to your heart muscle again is important. This can reduce the amount of permanent damage to your heart and save your life.;

Many people need to have emergency treatment to restore the blood flow:

  • Coronary angioplasty re-opens the blocked coronary artery by inserting one or more stents. This helps keep the narrowed artery open.
  • Thrombolysis involves giving you clot-busting medicine to dissolve the blood clot that’s blocking the coronary artery.
  • Coronary bypass surgery helps to restore normal blood flow by using a blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest in your heart to bypass the blocked artery.

You might not have these treatments if your doctor decides it’s not safe or necessary.

What Not To Do After A Heart Attack

Give your heart a chance to heal after a heart attack. This means you may need to modify your normal routine and reconsider certain activities for several weeks.

Gradually ease back into your everyday routine so you dont risk a relapse. You may have to modify your daily activities if theyre stressful.

It may take up to 3 months before your doctor gives you the OK to go back to work.

Depending on the stress level of your job, you may need to significantly cut back on your workload or ease back into it on a part-time basis.

You may not be able to drive a vehicle for at least a week after your heart attack. This restriction may be longer if you have complications.

Each state has different laws, but the general rule is that your condition must be stable for at least 3 weeks before youre allowed to drive again.

Your doctor will likely advise you to hold off on sex and other physical activities for at least 2 to 3 weeks after your heart attack.

Things You Need To Do After A Heart Attack

Your recovery after a heart attack doesn’t end when you leave the hospital. To protect your heart over the long term, follow these steps.

Having a heart attack is life-altering experience. More than likely, you’ll spend the days and weeks after your discharge from the hospital flooded with new information on your heart health and medical care. You’ll also be learning to cope with your identity as a heart attack survivor.

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What Happens After A Mild Heart Attack

After experiencing a mild heart attack, other symptoms may make themselves known and affect your physical and mental state. You might feel fatigued, as the episode will have weakened your heart muscle and made it more difficult for the heart to pump blood throughout the rest of the body. You may also experience some discomfort in your chest, as damage to the heart impairs blood flow and can result in chest pain.

Depression is another side effect of experiencing a mild heart attack, as after such a traumatic event, you may feel a fear of death or mortality as well as a loss of control over your life. Finally, heart arrhythmias may develop after a mild heart attack, as part of the muscle that conducts the impulse to beat may be damaged and cause the heart to beat irregularly.

What A Mild Heart Attack Means

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A mild heart attack is a common way of referring to what physicians call a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, or NSTEMI. .

In this type of heart attack, blood flow through one of the coronary arteries was partially blocked, limiting the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.

If you were told youve had a mild heart attack, it probably means your heart didnt suffer much damage and still pumps normally, Dr. Campbell says.

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Stress Or Depression Risk For Heart Disease

Stress or Depression may play a role in causing CHD. Stress can trigger your arteries to narrow and can raise your blood pressure and your risk for a heart attack. Getting upset or angry also can trigger a heart attack. Stress also may indirectly raise your risk for CHD if it makes you more likely to smoke or overeat foods high in fat and sugar. People who are depressed are two to three times more likely to develop CHD than people who are not. Depression is twice as common in women as in men.;

Heart Attack Recovery In Hospital

After receiving treatment, youll usually be in hospital for a few days. The length of your stay will depend on what treatment youve had and how well you begin to recover.;

During your stay, youll be monitored and have tests to see how well your heart is recovering.;

When you first arrive in hospital, youll likely be admitted to a coronary care unit . During your stay, you might be moved to a cardiac ward.;

You wont be discharged from hospital until your doctor is certain youre well enough to go home.;

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About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease

You can have a heart attack and not even know it. A silent heart attack, known as a silent myocardial infarction , account for 45% of heart attacks and strike men more than women.

They are described as “silent” because when they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of a classic heart attack, such as extreme and pressure; stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw; sudden shortness of breath; sweating, and dizziness.

“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and thus men ignore them,” says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

For instance, men may feel fatigue or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and .

Also, the location of pain is sometimes misunderstood. With SMI, you may feel discomfort in the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many people associate with a heart attack. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs,” says Dr. Plutzky.

What Happens After Youve Had A Heart Attack


When someone has a heart attack, getting early and effective treatment is critical to limiting damage to the heart muscle.

Ninety minutes is kind of the acceptable norm, says Dr. Abedelrahim Asfour, director of the cardiac cath lab at Beaumont Hospital, Trenton. The sooner, the better. Ninety minutes is where we can prevent a lot of the damage to the heart muscle.

Most heart attacks occur as the result of an immediate and sudden blockage of the arteries, Dr. Asfour says. As a result, the heart muscle loses nutrients and blood supply. That could lead to arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeats, a weakening of the heart muscle and ultimately, congestive heart failure.

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What Is The Difference Between A Mild And Massive Heart Attack

Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in the artery that impedes the flow of blood into the heart. A massive heart attack may happen if blood flow is completely cut off by the blockage and can cause permanent heart damage, cardiac arrest, or death. Massive heart attacks may also occur if the blockage is impeding blood flow in a larger artery.

In comparison, a mild heart attack either occurs when there is a blockage in one of the smaller arteries of the heart or the blockage does not completely stop the flow of blood to the heart muscle. Mild heart attacks may also cause damage to a smaller portion of the heart, less of which is permeant. Finally, mild heart attacks do not last as long as massive heart attacks.

What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack

  • Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
  • Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.

If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.

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Heart Attack Recovery Faqs

Most people survive their first heart attack and return to their normal lives to enjoy many more years of productive activity. But having a heart attack does mean you need to make some changes in your life.

Your doctor will advise you of medications;and lifestyle changes;according to how badly your heart was damaged and what degree of heart disease;you have.

It’s up to you to follow your doctor’s recommendations to make a full recovery.

Feelings After A Heart Attack

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About one fourth of patients after a heart attack feel depressed, angry and afraid. These are normal responses that usually go away with time, as you get back to your regular activities. To help relieve the emotional blues:

  • Get up and get dressed every day. Do not stay in bed all day
  • Get out and walk daily. Daily activity will help you have a healthy mind and body.
  • Resume hobbies and social activities you enjoy.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep can cause you to feel tired or irritable. Be careful not to nap too much during the day, or you will not be able to sleep at night.
  • Limit visits with friends and family at first, to avoid feeling over-tired. Increase them depending on how you feel. With time, these visits can be helpful to lift your spirits.
  • Join a cardiac rehabilitation program emotional support is just one benefit to a guided activity & education program.

If you have questions, ask your health care team! You can avoid much stress for yourself and your family if you know about your heart disease and what you can and cannot do.

If you do not feel like your emotions are improving or you are concerned about feeling of depressed call your doctor. Medications and counseling is available to help you through this time.

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How Can I Take Care Of My Heart At Home

Heart disease is serious, and its one of the leading causes of death. So no matter how you are, keeping your heart healthy is important to limit the risk of illness and complications. Here are some ways you can boost heart health at home:

  • Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fish. Avoid excessive salt, fat and sugar. Use herbs and spices instead of salt. Walnuts and flaxseeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, which can help to decrease swelling in the arteries and protect the heart. They can also help lower cholesterol levels.
  • Drink water at regular intervals . This can help remove waste from the body as well as help your heart in pumping blood.;
  • Maintain a healthy weight according to your age and height.

Ive Been Experiencing Big Swings In My Emotions Is This Related To My Heart Attack

For several months after a cardiac incident, you may experience what feels like an emotional roller coaster.

Depression is common after a heart attack, particularly if you had to make substantial changes to your regular routine.

Certain medications like beta-blockers that are taken after a heart attack may also be associated with depression.

A twinge of pain may spark fear of another heart attack or death, and you may feel anxiety.

Discuss mood changes with your doctor and family and dont be afraid to seek professional assistance to help you cope.

Starting or stopping medications or adjusting old medications is common following a heart attack.

You may be prescribed certain medications to reduce your risk for a second heart attack, such as:

  • beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors to rest the heart and interrupt chemicals that can weaken the heart
  • statins to lower cholesterol and reduce inflammation
  • antithrombotics to help prevent blood clots, with or without a stent
  • low dose aspirin to reduce the likelihood of another heart attack

Aspirin therapy can be very effective in the prevention of heart attacks.

Its typically used to prevent first heart attacks in people who have a high risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease and a low risk of bleeding. Although aspirin therapy may be considered routine, its not recommended for everyone.

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Heart Attack With Stents

A stent is used to reduce the chances of a heart attack. This wire-mesh tube is inserted into a blocked artery to help increase blood flow to your heart. The stent is left in place permanently to improve your condition.

When done with a coronary angioplasty, a stent placement opens your arteries and increases blood flow to the heart muscle. Stents reduce your overall risk of experiencing narrowing of that same artery.

However, its still possible to have a heart attack in the future from a different clogged artery. Thats why adopting heart-healthy lifestyle habits is so impotant.

Making these changes can play an important role in helping prevent a future attack.

As a rule of thumb, you should see your doctor right away if you experience chest pain even after a stent placement. In the rare event that a stent closes, youll need surgery to open the artery up again.

Its also possible to experience a blood clot after getting a stent, which could increase your risk of a heart attack.

Your doctor will likely recommend taking aspirin, as well as prescription anti-clotting drugs, such as ticagrelor or clopidogrel to prevent blood clots.

A heart-healthy lifestyle can complement a medical treatment plan for heart disease. Consider your current lifestyle habits and look for ways you might improve them.

Is Chest Pain Normal After A Heart Attack

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Once you’ve had a heart attack, you’re at higher risk for another one. Not everyone who has CHD;will have chest pain;, but if you do, it should be a light pain or pressure in your chest that quickly goes away. It will typically happen during or right after physical exertion, intense emotion or eating a heavy meal. If you’re having ANY chest pains, tell your doctor. There are exercises and medication that can help ease or prevent the pain. If you don’t know if your chest pain is angina or a heart attack, call 911.

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Waiting For An Ambulance

It may be helpful to take an aspirin tablet, ideally 300 milligrams, while waiting for an ambulance. A person can take an aspirin tablet if they do not have an allergy to it and if a doctor or member of the emergency services team has recommended it.

Aspirin is a blood-thinning medication that may help restore some blood flow to the heart.

A person should make sure that they have taken any prescribed heart medication as instructed while they are waiting for the ambulance to arrive. These medications may include nitroglycerin or beta-blockers.

How To Get Checked Out

Men may not be aware they had an SMI until weeks or even months later when they see their doctor for a regular visit, or because of persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or heartburn.

SMI is usually detected from an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, which can highlight heart muscle damage. Another method is a blood test for the molecular footprints of troponin T, a protein released by injured heart cells. That test is often used in emergency departments for patients with heart attack symptoms.

Once an SMI is diagnosed, your doctor can identify your main risk factors and help design a treatment strategy, including changing your diet, exercising regularly, and taking a statin as well as other medication to help prevent a second heart attack .

“If you do notice any symptoms of a SMI, do not brush them aside, even if you do not think they are serious,” says Dr. Plutzky. “Playing it safe is always a better move than risking the potential harmful downside.”

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Check Your Blood Pressure Regularly

It is important to have your blood pressure checked regularly. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease. Normal blood pressure is less than 140/90 mm Hg. If you are being treated for high blood pressure, the usual target is to reduce blood pressure in someone who has had a heart attack to below 130/80 mm Hg. This figure may vary depending on whether you have other conditions – for example, kidney disease.

Lifestyle factors can help to lower blood pressure, such as eating a healthy diet, exercise, losing weight if you are overweight, and not eating much salt. Medication is advised if your blood pressure remains persistently high. See the separate leaflet called High Blood Pressure for more details.

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