Cardiac rehabilitation refers to a structured and monitored exercise program. Exercise is an essential part of your recovery. It will help you gain strength and decrease your risk of another heart attack. Cardiac rehab programs include education about how to manage your condition.
As another form of physical activity, sex deserves consideration. Having a heart attack and/or bypass or other interventional surgery can be a very traumatic experience. But with time, patience, and an understanding and sympathetic partner, there is no reason why people with heart conditions can't enjoy satisfying love lives. (See "Sex After a Heart Attack," below, for more information.)
Quitting smoking and avoiding second-hand smoke is a good idea for anyone who smokes, especially people who are at risk for or have had a heart attack. Cigarette smokers are twice as likely as nonsmokers to have a heart attack and are more likely to die from a heart attack than nonsmokers. Patients who continue to smoke in the presence of already established coronary heart disease are at increased risk for repeated heart attack and sudden cardiac death. While the risk is not as great as with smoking cigarettes, smoking other products or inhaling second-hand smoke increases the risk of heart disease and heart attack.
Chelation therapy is a controversial treatment that has been suggested as an alternative to surgical treatments for CAD and angina. When performed correctly by a qualified practitioner, it is relatively harmless, though it might also offer few or no benefits.
Note: If you have had a heart attack and/or are at risk for having one, your condition requires conventional medical evaluation and supervision. Natural treatments such as exercise may complement standard medical care when monitored by an appropriate healthcare professional. Consult with your physician regarding all dosage and safety issues.Treatments include:
Effect of Chelation Therapy on Heart Attack
EDTA is a synthetic substance that is used to remove heavy metals, such as lead, from the body, but it also has an effect on calcium, which is why it came into use in treating hardening of the...
Read more about Heart Attack and Chelation Therapy.
Effect of Smoking Cessation on Heart Attack
Quitting smoking improves heart health, decreases your likelihood of having a heart attack, and increases the likelihood that you'll survive if you do have a heart attack.
Read more about Heart Attack and Smoking Cessation.
Effect of Acupuncture on Heart Attack
Some people may attempt to use acupuncture to help treat some of the underlying causes different heart conditions, including those at risk for heart attacks. For example, acupuncture can help people...
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Effect of Yoga on Heart Attack
Yoga can be a wonderful part of a heart attack rehab exercise and weight loss program, as well as help avoid a heart attack in the first place. Not only good for exercise, the meditative breathing...
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Sex After a Heart Attack
Having a heart attack and/or bypass or other interventional surgery can be a very traumatic experience. But with time, patience, and an understanding and sympathetic partner, there is no reason why people with heart conditions can't enjoy satisfying love lives.
You may be able to have sex again 3-4 weeks after a heart attack, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. Talk to your doctor about a timeline that is best for you for resuming sexual activity.
Once you are ready to have sex again, keep these things in mind:
- Obtain clearance from your doctor.
- Avoid sexual intercourse for at least 1-3 hours after eating or consuming alcohol.
- Sex should not be stressful. Pick a time when you and your partner are relaxed.
- Select a place that is peaceful and free of interruptions.
- The room should be temperature-controlled and well-ventilated.
- Pay attention to your partner.
- Avoid excessive physical demands.
- Maintain a sense of humor.
- Watch for cardiac symptoms (fatigue, nausea, shortness of breath).
- If you are taking medications, take them correctly.
- Seek medical advice when necessary.
In The Heart Attack Handbook, Dr. Joseph Alpert has additional recommendations for making sex just as enjoyable as it was before your heart attack.
- Allow ample time for foreplay.
- Consider just being intimate without intercourse at first, until both partners are comfortable.
- Start with positions that require less energy, such as with your partner on top or the side (lateral) position.
- Reduce sexual activity if you develop a rapid heart rate or rapid breathing lasting longer than 30 minutes after sex. Also reduce sexual activity if you experience severe fatigue or insomnia the day after sex.
- For those heart patients without partners, returning to masturbation is the same as sex for those with partners.
American Academy of Family Physicians. Heart attack: getting back into your life after a heart attack. FamilyDoctor.org website. Available at: http://familydocto.... Created September 2000. Updated April 2008. Accessed May 24, 2010.
American Heart Association. Sexual activity and heart disease or stroke. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4714. Accessed May 24, 2010.
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