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After Heart Surgery

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Going through an emotional and traumatic event such as open-heart surgery can be terrifying and cause you to wonder what your quality of life will be in the years that follow. It can be a tremendous relief when you come to understand that your quality of life can be as good as you want it to be—depending on the lifestyle changes you are willing to make. Post-heart-surgery patients have gone on to run the Ironman triathlon or continue with their professional athletic careers but most importantly lead completely normal and healthy lives.

Initial Recovery

The first phase of heart surgery recovery can last from six to eight weeks. Upon discharge from the hospital, you will be given a set of instructions on post-surgery care. They typically include tips on what to do for your physical and emotional well-being.

Lifestyle Changes

As your body heals and you move past the initial recovery stage, you will want to consider lifestyle changes that will help you maintain your heart health. You can avoid heart problems in the future by adopting a healthy lifestyle today. The Mayo Clinic has offered five heart disease prevention tips to get you started.

  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Get regular health screenings.

If in the past, if you haven’t given much thought to your health and haven’t made efforts to live a healthy lifestyle, it may be quite overwhelming to begin to make these lifestyle changes. As we discuss these five lifestyle changes, think about how you have done in each of these areas before your surgery and what you can do differently after your surgery. Making notes as you read through this section will help you create a list of things you can focus your attention on and some specific areas where you can set goals.