October 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

September 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

August 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

July 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

June 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

May 2021

Pulse Newsletter for your Heart Health.

Have you recently recovered after a heart attack? Here are a few dos and don’ts to ease transition

With advancement in science and technology, most people suffering a heart attack return to their normal lives to enjoy many more years of productive life. But this also means changing the way we have been living for so long, making major lifestyle changes to prevent a secondary event. 

It is important to be aware of what you should or should not do after recovering from a heart attack. 

Dos

  • Making lifestyle changes- first and foremost is to quit smoking, it is the most important positive step towards your heart health. Eating a balanced healthy diet and maintaining good control of your blood pressure and blood sugar will help lower your cardiovascular risk
  • Understand your medications (names, when to take them, side effects, emergency meds) and plan your doctor appointments in advance.
  • Plan your Cardiac Rehab, plan a physical therapy for you, keep your appointments. If you’re going beyond that with more exercise, walking is a great activity that most patients can enjoy while they’re rehabbing and beyond
  • Join a support group

Don’ts 

  • Don’t skip taking your medication, make sure to take your medications on time and as advised by your specialist. If you need to, write down everything you’re taking to keep yourself organized, or put reminders in your smartphone.
  • Don’t ignore your emotional health- it is so important and yet so ignored. Do not dismiss your emotional well-being or that of your family. Heart-attack patients often feel depressed, afraid, and perhaps even angry at their bodies for letting them down. Dealing with these feelings is important for your recovery.

Heart Attack symptoms in women

Heart Attack symptoms in women are subtle as compared to the symptoms in men. Heart disease is often thought to be more of a problem for men. However, it’s the most common cause of death for both women and men in Australia.

Heart attack symptoms in women can be different from men. Did you know 40% of women won’t experience the typical crushing chest pain and are more likely to experience non-chest pain symptoms?

Symptoms of heart attack in women:

  • Pain in neck, chest, shoulder, jaw, abdomen and/or through to your back
  • Sweaty, shortness of breath
  • Pain in one or both arms
  • Racing of your heart or feeling of “fluttering”
  • Dizziness or Light-headedness
  • Indigestion, Nausea and vomiting

Emotional stress can play a big role in triggering heart attack symptoms in women. It has also been noted that women tend to have the symptoms often when resting or even while sleeping. 

If you experience one or more of these symptoms, then you should get immediate medical attention.

Women often feel embarrassed and tend to delay seeking treatment, not wanting to be a burden on others. It is important to identify any problems and take the necessary steps to intervene before a possible heart attack. Also, seek out to one of our support groups, talk to other people with heart disease.

Heart Support Australia runs monthly support groups in locations across Australia and on Zoom. Contact us by phone 02 6253 0097 or email at office@heartnet.org.au to join or for more information.

Connecting to others is Important

After being diagnosed with a heart issue, a lot of people feel like their whole life has been shaken. Whether being diagnosed with an abnormal heart rhythm, cardiovascular disease or having a heart attack or a stroke, it can completely alter one’s life. Most doctors and nurses are not trained to help patients with their personal issues. Also, very few talk about or discuss the after effects and impact on one’s emotional and mental health. 

Why do we need a support system after recovering from a heart attack?

Support from family and friends plays a huge role in relieving your stress and anxiety but it is good to reach out to people beyond your immediate network, especially people who have been affected by heart disease recently. Different people in support groups can help you in different ways:

  • Understanding: It is important and reassuring to connect with someone who is going through the same thing as you. It is a great way to cope by understanding and empathising with others in the group and how they are managing themselves. 
  • Motivation: Likeminded people can become great heart healthy buddies. So if you are trying to exercise regularly, change eating habits or quit smoking, meet up with a like-minded friend and become heart-healthy buddies. The key is to build a support system that enables you to become your best self.
  • Accountability: No matter how driven you are, having someone else keep an eye on you can keep you on track. 
  • Recognition: As you make progress and meet goals, share your success with the people who have supported you and will be proud of your progress. This brings in recognition as well are makes it fun to enjoy with others. 

Finding the Support You Need Online

You’ll find a few active heart attack support groups on Facebook simply by exploring the “groups” area or simply join our Virtual Heart Support Australia Peer Support Group by clicking here

Not only will your heart attack support team help keep your body healthy, but you’ll be also amazed at what a difference they can make in your mental and emotional recovery.

So, get connected!

Cardiac Rehabilitation (Rehab or CR)

Cardiac rehabilitation is an essential program for all heart patients, young and old, working and retired, fit and not active. Scientific research shows that rehab works!

What is cardiac rehab? 

Cardiac rehab is an outpatient hospital program for heart patients. Outpatient simply means that you will attend from home and are not admitted to a hospital bed. It normally goes for 90 minutes once a week for 6 weeks. Your caregiver or partner can attend with you. 

  • RECOVERY – Patients do safe, simple exercises in a group supervised by nurses and exercise physiologists. 
  • EDUCATION – you will have weekly one-hour lessons in a classroom with other heart patients: 
    • About your heart condition 
    • Medications 
    • Emotions, stress & sleep, quitting smoking 
    • Eating 
    • Exercise and other activity 
    • Stories from other patients 
    • Support groups (e.g., Heart Support Australia)

Is cardiac rehab for me? 

Cardiac rehab is for all heart patients: 

  • There will often be sessions during the day for retirees and might be morning or evening session for patients who work 
  • The exercises are different for each patient depending on what they can do – safe and simple is the key 
  • Your heart rate and blood pressure are checked each session for safety and there is always a nurse in case someone has a problem 
  • You will learn things that will help you in every-day life and to stay healthy 
  • Your family and partner will be more relaxed knowing that you are attending rehab and they will learn how they can help you 
  • For those who live alone it is a great chance to meet other patients and have a chat; there is usually a cuppa and a (healthy) biscuit or two

What stops patients going? 

Some patients think there are barriers that stop them attending but these is help: 

  • If you don’t have a car or can’t afford public transport, see if you qualify for community transport 
  • Even patients in wheel-chairs or who are frail (e.g., use walking frames) can attend; the exercises are adapted for them 
  • You don’t need to be able to read or write; the lessons use lots of pictures and are spoken; you don’t have to take notes or do exams 
  • There are often rehab booklets in different languages 
  • It’s only 90 mins per week 
  • Women and men attend; its not just for one or the other 
  • Don’t worry if you are shy; everyone is like that after their surgery, the nurses will put you at ease