Living With A Heart Condition

You’re Not Alone

It is important as a survivor to look after yourself and your heart after having any sort of cardiac event.

It is important to remember that each person is different; each person’s recovery depends on the individual.

Furthermore, it is normal for you to feel a range of emotions and surprising reactions such as grief, shock and anxiety – all these feelings are completely normal.

Below are some recommendations to help you manage the impact not just for yourself, but also for your family and friends.

Cardiac Rehabilitation equips survivors and their loved ones with the advice, support and practical changes needed in order to resume a normal life after a cardiac event.

Furthermore, rehabilitation not only could prevent further cardiac problems in the future, but also help support you and your family deal with the emotional, psychological and physical problems experienced after a cardiac event.

Typically, the sessions focus on information and exercise, helping one to understand their heart condition, recover from their cardiac event and empower as well educate survivors to make lifestyle changes for heart health. The Australian Cardiovascular Health and Rehabilitation Association (ACRA) has a directory of Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs.

Reaching out to a support group could be a beneficial way to meet other people who have a heart condition, as well as provide support for carers of individuals affected.

Support groups can also arrange social activities and exercise sessions. A good place to start could be through joining The Heart Smart Club, which allows you to access an online forum consisting of survivors and carers, as well as webinars about heart health and regular newsletters.

Also, you could speak to your hospital or doctor about linking up with any local support groups.

It can be difficult reconciling with the diagnosis of a long-term heart condition. Furthermore, it can be stressful not only for yourself, but also your loved ones.

As much as it can be difficult to discuss your condition with your loved ones, do try to be open about how you’re feeling as well as telling them what you need for your recovery and management.

It is essential that you discuss how you’re feeling with your doctor, especially if you have any worries or anxieties about returning to sexual activity.

Typically, being able to climb up two flights of stairs without breathlessness or pain indicates you are able to have sex.

Furthermore, it is important to be open with your partner and discuss what you both want sexually, as well as how to ensure you feel special and loved.

This depends you, your recovery outlook as well as your condition.

Speaking to your doctor would be a way to clarify when you will be ready as well as your capacity to return.

Keep these steps in mind when considering your return to work: gradually increase work hours, return to light duties, ensure you take breaks, reduce your workplace stress, as well as avoid travelling to work during the stress of peak-hour.

Exercise is a key component of not only your health and wellbeing, but also managing your recovery after any cardiac event.

Not only does exercise have many physical health benefits such as weight stability, promoting circulation, strengthening the heart and improving muscle strength, it also has a positive effect on your mental health.

Some tips to boost your exercise regime as well as reduce injury risk include: avoiding caffeine and food immediately before exercise, not exercising when you feel unwell, staying hydrated, wearing comfortable clothing as well supportive footwear.

Heart Research Australia has an example exercise plan based on gentle walking, as well as information about intensity levels.

It is recommended that you speak to your doctor before driving again after a cardiac event. Furthermore, it depends on your heart condition and individual factors such as recovery and age, to determine a return to driving time frame.

You should contact your insurance company as well as your relevant driving authority for their recommendations. If you drive as part of your occupation, ensure Driving: it is recommended that you speak to your doctor before driving again after a cardiac event.

Furthermore, it depends on your heart condition and individual factors such as recovery and age, to determine a return to driving time frame. You should contact your insurance company as well as your relevant driving authority for their recommendations.

If you drive as part of your occupation, ensure you receive clearance from medical professionals. Further information can be accessed from Austroads Assessing Fitness to Drive.

It is also important to look after your mental health after suffering from a cardiac event and it is important to know how common mental health issues such as depression are after a cardiac event.

The ‘Cardiac Blues’ is a term which describes a temporary, yet substantial emotional response to a cardiac event. If you experience the Cardiac Blues, you could be having feelings of tearfulness, sleep disturbance, withdrawing from your loved ones and irritability, as well as forgetfulness and reduced self-esteem.

Research suggests that almost three-quarters of people experience symptoms in hospital of the Cardiac Blues whilst in-hospital after a cardiac event, with these symptoms still present up to 6-months after the cardiac event.

If these emotional feelings continue to persist, you should speak to your doctor not only to for advice but also because your mental health can also have an effect on your physical health and recovery.

For more information, advice and support services, check out Beyond Blue.