A heart attack (heart damage) occurs when there is a blockage in one of the coronary arteries. Pain lasts over 30 minutes and will not go away with rest or the use of nitro-glycerine. Most heart attack patients are admitted as soon as possible to a hospital where there are specialist facilities, such as a coronary care unit.
The injured heart - like any other muscle injury - heals best with a period of rest (five to ten days in hospital in uncomplicated cases), followed by a convalescent stage (four to six weeks at home). It is important for patients to realise that the majority of people who suffer heart attacks are back at work after six to eight weeks.
Physical activity at home
It is normal to feel tired initially. Dress and sit up for most of the day and attempt to walk 100 metres two or three times a day. Don't be frightened to walk slowly up a flight of stairs. Ensure that you have enough rest periods during the day and a good nights sleep.
Return to work
Your doctor will discuss this with you.
Resumption of driving depends upon your progress. Discuss this with your doctor during your follow-up visit.
If you are able to walk one or two flights of stairs without any significant increase in your pulse rate, shortness of breath or chest discomfort, it is safe to resume sexual activity.
It is recommended that you avoid travelling long distances for the first three months after your attack.
Alcohol in moderation is allowed.
Take your medication as prescribed - only stopping on your doctor's instructions. If you experience any side effects contact your doctor immediately. Ensure that you always have sufficient medication.
Diabetics are urged to strictly monitor and control their diet and blood sugar levels.
Follow the recommendations on the diet sheet that will be given to you at the Hospital.
Special advice for women
Women with high blood pressure, angina pectoris, a previous history of heart attack or blood clotting problems should not use oral or injectable contraceptives. Consult your doctor for advice.
When to notify your doctor
Notify your doctor if you experience any of the following: