Living with a Heart Condition

Living with a Heart Condition

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

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.

Support Groups

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.

Mental Health

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.