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Care After Heart Attack

Heart attack can recur as per my knowledge. What should be the diet for the patients who have survived after first heart attack. What care should be taken for them?
(July 29, 2011)

Why does cardiac arrest produce acidosis?

Is there a relation between metabolic acidosis and cardiac arrest? Yes, metabolic acidosis is quite common among patients suffering from a cardiac arrest. Acidosis sometimes makes it difficult to revive a patient suffering from a cardiac arrest. Metabolic acidosis usually results from apnea (stopped breathing) when a person’s body gets hypoxic (low levels of oxygen) and causes the cells to function anaerobically and results in lactic acid waste.

The heart and brain consume high levels of oxygen (23ml/min and 4 ml/min).

This delivery of oxygen falls below the required levels when a cardiac arrest takes place. Myocardial metabolism continues to take place (in case of ventricular fibrillation) at a more or less normal rate. As a result of this, the high energy phosphate and oxygen levels get exhausted. Carbon dioxide accumulates in the tissues, and there is also an increased rate of anaerobic metabolism as a result of which acidosis arises. The degree of acidosis that develops in the brain threatens the survival of tissues within the first 5 to 6 minutes or so.

Collapse of the cardiovascular system causes a massive stress response. Large amounts of catecholamines are released along with anti-diuretic hormone, coticsteroids, and some other hormonal responses. Some possible effects of these changes are hypokalaemia, hyperglycaemia, and increased levels of lactate, and chances of further arrhythmias.

Submitted by N on July 29, 2011 at 05:50


What happens to the brain after cardiac arrest?

This basically depends on the duration of the cardiac arrest. So how does your brain function after your cardiac arrest? Brain hypoxia causes changes in the occipital and frontal cortex, and there is also a laminar loss as far as the cell wall is concerned. There is also a loss of the purkinje cells and certain changes in the basal ganglia and hippocambus are also found. Thus, the brain damage after your heart attack could be something as basic as memory loss to gross damage that is irreversible. All this depends mainly on how long your cardiac arrest lasts. If your brain is deprived of ATP and oxygen for a long time, it could cause irreversible damage to your brain.

If the breathing and circulation is restored quickly, say in about five to ten minutes, there is no permanent neurologic damage. When the oxygen deprivation is for more than 5 minutes, the brain cells start dying. If this happens, the potential symptoms (neurologic) are long. Difficulty of speaking, loss of memory, confusion, disorientation, difficulty swallowing, weakness of the legs/arms, loss of motor control and loss of cognitive ability are some of the things that could take place after your cardiac arrest. It is possible too that a patient could be brain dead post heart attack if not revived in time.
Submitted by N on July 23, 2011 at 05:45


Can i drink alcohol after a heart attack?

In the first month after your heart attack, it is advisable not to drink any alcohol. This gives your heart time to recover. Once the month goes by and if you are used to drinking alcohol each day, you could start with drinking a beer after your heart attack. In the alternative, you can drink some wine. If you do start drinking, it is very important that you limit your alcohol intake to just one drink per day.

You could have one mixed drink, one glass of wine or one beer, if you plan to drink alcohol after your heart attack. This will give you some benefits for your heart. It is very important that you do not excessively drink after your heart attack. Binge drinking post your cardiac arrest is also not advised. Men should not drink more than 21 alcohol units per week or 3 to 4 units in a day. Women should restrict their alcohol intake to 14 units, and just 2 to 3 units should be consumed per day. It is advisable for people who drink not to take up drinking after their heart attack.

To sum up, moderately heavy drinking of alcohol raises your risk of death post a heart attack.
Submitted by N on July 18, 2011 at 05:44


What to expect after heart attack?

We need to understand that no two heart attacks are similar. Causes differ, symptoms vary, and treatment depends on various factors. There is no fixed recovery timeline, and one may experience some/none of the following problems. Most people complain of physical issues such as fatigue, shortness of breath, and weakness. After a heart attack, the patient may develop palpitations and abnormal heart rhythms. This abnormal heart rhythm may in some cases be permanent or may improve gradually as the heart muscle improves. In some patients, low blood pressure is an issue after a heart attack. Another problem faced by some people is leg swelling. In some cases, the patient suffers from edema, shortness of breath, and coughing. In a few cases, people are known to have gone into an induced coma after a cardiac attack.

There are a number of emotional issues as well that you may have to handle such as anger, anxiety, and depression after your heart attack.  Here are some common signs of depression you need to look out for.
  • Frequent crying episodes
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness,
  • Increased appetite or poor appetite
  • Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
  • Increased restlessness and agitation
  • Expressing thoughts of suicide or dying
  • Disinterest in life
Submitted by N on July 11, 2011 at 05:43


Life after heart attack is slightly frightening. The main objective is to prevent further attacks and other related risks. It takes at least two months to regain normal health. Feeling of weakness or fatigue is obvious, right after returning from the hospital. The heart muscles are damaged to a certain extent and require utmost care. Dietary modification and lifestyle changes are made a note of. Personal hygiene is of great importance. Individuals are capable of looking into personal needs such as shaving, dressing, bathing and visiting the toilet. Adequate rest is important, so as to provide enough rest to the heart muscles. Spread the activities of the day, into various sections. This helps in completing the activity in a leisurely manner.

Climbing the stairs is recommended under the guidance of a physician. Excessive climbing is not permitted, though a regular walking session is appreciated. Return to light or sedentary activities, in a gradual manner. Dusting, cooking, folding clothes and gardening are some of the activities. Avoid lifting heavy objects and pushing them. Return to work requires the permission of your physician. A heart healthy diet helps in the protection of the heart from further complications. A high fiber and low fat diet proves beneficial. Complex carbohydrates, in the form of vegetables, whole grains, fruits, legumes, cereals and pulses are essential. Fruits and vegetables also provide antioxidants and phytonutrients, which help in the prevention of oxidative stress. They eliminate the free radicals from the system.

Restrict the intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Opt for monounsaturated fats, such as olive, flaxseed and peanut oil. Complete abstinence from saturated fats, such as butter, lard, clarified butter and mayonnaise. Fat free milk and skimmed milk products are useful. Decrease the intake of sodium in the diet. Avoid processed and canned foods, as they have a high concentration of salt in them. Increase the intake of calcium, potassium and magnesium. Moderate amount of protein is advised. Variety in the diet helps to overcome monotony. Sleep well in the night. A cardiac rehabilitation program proves beneficial in providing emotional support.

Certain other tips to prevent future attacks are:
  • Keep your blood pressure under control.
  • Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages.
  • A regular workout session is necessary.
  • Obesity should be curbed. Maintain your ideal body weight.
  • Keep a check on the cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid stress of all kinds. Uncontrolled anger aggravates complications.

Read more on diet for heart patient


Submitted by M S on March 13, 2009 at 06:58


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