A healthy heart is vital for a healthy and happy life. But a sedentary lifestyle, increased intake of unhealthy food and stress – all of this contribute to decreasing cardiovascular efficiency in people. If this is left unchecked for long enough, it comes to a point where a surgery is required to restore the heart’s health.
With technological advancements in the medical field, heart surgeries are not as scary as they used to be. In fact, with a reduced recovery time, a person undergoing a heart surgery can hope to resume his/her day to day activities in under 8 weeks.
In this article, we aim to cover the basic dos and don’ts after a heart surgery. Please note that you should follow your doctor’s instruction completely, even if it contradicts with what we have covered.
- Wash your incision only with soap and water and wipe it gently with a clean, dry and soft cloth.
- Use little to no pressure while cleaning it.
- Pay attention to the sternum, the breast bone, and immediately inform your doctor if it moves, pops or cracks with movements.
- Refrain from applying ointments on the incision unless your doctor has prescribed you to do so.
- Keep track of oozing, swelling or excessive serous drainage from the cut, especially if it is accompanied by high body temperature. Consult the doctor immediately if there is redness near the incision or if it opens.
- Get a thorough understanding of every pill you take – when to take it, how many to take, how long each medicine should be taken for and what each one is for.
- Never skip taking the medicines.
- If you are going through any other conditions for which you have to take medicines, please confirm with your doctor if you should, in fact, take medicines for that. Even if it is a fever, confirm with your doctor if you can take medication for that. This will prevent any unwanted or risky side effects.
- Take your after-food medication at least half an hour before going to sleep.
- Do not jump into your day-to-day activities after a couple of days of rest. Understand the importance of taking it slow.
- Wait for full recovery before joining work, especially if it involves travel or is physically intensive.
- Stop any physical activities the minute you feel any pain or discomfort.
- Do not indulge in sexual intercourse before completely recovering and consulting with your doctor.
- Do not lift, push or pull any objects weighing more than 10 pounds or 4.5 kg.
- Refrain from climbing up or down several levels of stairs for the first 4 weeks.
- When it comes to sleep, you might find it hard to go back to your old sleep cycle for about two weeks. However, please consult your doctor if the problem persists even after 15 days.
- Meditate for a few minutes everyday in a lying down or sitting position.
- Ensure that your diet is balanced and comes with protein and fibre-rich food.
- Avoid eating fried food, ice creams, chocolate, aerated drinks or caffeinated drinks.
- Switch to olive or canola oil for cooking to reduce the risk of saturated fats. Making this switch will reduce the bad (LDL) cholesterol in the blood.
Understand that recovering from a heart surgery requires as much mental and emotional strength as it requires physical strength. Strokes, heart attacks and other heart ailments are nature’s way of telling us to slow down.
When it comes to treating the heart, eliminating the reasons of the heart disease is just as important as post-surgical care. This means that you have to pay close attention to your stress levels and ensure that you don’t subject yourself to such catalysts again. Physical recovery from a heart surgery can happen only in phases. Complement your lifestyle with a healthy dose of exercise, meditation and a well-balanced diet. This will make your road to normalcy much smoother.