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FAQ (Health)

 Dr. George Jacob
Heart Infocenter


Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

Life After Your Heart Attack

Should I Worry?

People who have gone through a heart attack are very sensitive to every ache, pain or twinge. Is it another heart attack? Or, is it a muscle ache, indigestion or something else?"

In general, pain from your heart will feel similar to the pain or discomfort that you felt during your previous heart attack. If you had pain radiating to your left arm when you had your heart attack, then that is how your angina will typically feel. The only difference is that pain will be less severe, usually. So, if your pain or discomfort is different, it is most likely not coming from your heart. The duration of the pain may also give you a clue. Angina (pain) tends to last longer. Other pains come and go. Call your doctor if your angina occurs more frequently, is more severe, lasts longer or radiates to other areas.

In Case Of A Suspected Heart Attack:

Quite often you will be prescribed nitroglycerin tablets or spray after a heart attack. If you experience angina-like symptoms:

Stop what you are doing immediately and rest.

If the discomfort continues, take a nitroglycerin and wait five minutes.

If the discomfort remains after taking three doses five minutes apart, call your doctor, have someone drive you to the emergency room or call for an ambulance.

Exercise/Physical Fitness

Your doctor will advise you on how to keep fit after your heart attack. Exercise will strengthen you heart muscle, make you feel more energetic, improve your circulation, reduce stress, and help you maintain a positive mental attitude.

Walking is usually recommended. It strengthens the muscles weakened by bed rest and improves the general health. As your endurance gets improved, you can expand your activities to other types of exercise. Alternatively, you can participate in an organized exercise program especially designed for heart patients. Your performance on a treadmill or bicycle ergometer is evaluated by a sports therapist/physical therapist. Based on that, an exercise program will be custom designed to strengthen your heart.

Some people get terrified at the idea of exercising. They get frozen by the thought that a heart attack may result from the exercise. Some people are even afraid to walk from the car to the house They lay in bed nearly all day, scared of what any activity would do to their heart. These people need to be referred to an organized exercise program under the supervision of a trained specialist. This should reduce their anxiety level and help them slowly into the exercise routine.

A cardiac exercise program may reduce the susceptibility to future heart attacks. It also may extend your life as it has done to the lives of thousands of people who had undergone this step successfully. Remember, you have a second chance. It is up to you to decide what you do with that chance.

See Also: Sample Walking Program

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