Heart attack - discharge
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked long enough that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies. This article discusses what you need to do to take care of yourself after you leave the hospital.
Myocardial infarction - discharge; MI - discharge; Coronary event - discharge; Infarct - discharge; Acute coronary syndrome - discharge; ACS - discharge
When You're in the Hospital
You were in the hospital because you had a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked long enough that part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies.
What to Expect at Home
You may feel sad. You may feel anxious and as though you have to be very careful about what you do. All of these feelings are normal. They go away for most people after 2 or 3 weeks. You may also feel tired when you leave the hospital to go home.
You should know the signs and symptoms of angina.
Know how to treat your chest pain when it happens. Talk with your health care provider about what to do.
Take it easy for the first 4 to 6 weeks.
You should be able to talk comfortably when you are doing any activity, such as walking, setting the table, and doing laundry. If you cannot, stop the activity.
Ask your provider about when you can return to work. Expect to be away from work for at least a week.
Talk to your provider before engaging in sexual activity. Ask your provider when it is OK to start again. DO NOT take Viagra, Levitra, Cialis or any herbal remedy for erection problems without checking with your provider first.
How long you will have to wait to return to your normal activities will depend on:
Diet and Lifestyle
DO NOT drink any alcohol for at least 2 weeks. Ask your provider when you may start. Limit how much you drink. Women should have only 1 drink a day, and men should have no more than 2 a day. Try to drink alcohol only when you are eating.
If you smoke, stop. Ask your provider for help quitting if you need it. DO NOT let anybody smoke in your home, since second-hand smoke can harm you. Try to stay away from things that are stressful for you. If you are feeling stressed all the time, or if you are feeling very sad, talk with your provider. They can refer you to a counselor.
Learn more about what you should eat to make your heart and blood vessels healthier.
Taking Your Heart Medicines
Have your drug prescriptions filled before you go home. It is very important that you take your drugs the way your provider told you to. DO NOT take any other drugs or herbal supplements without asking your provider first if they are safe for you.
Take your medicines with water. DO NOT take them with grapefruit juice, since it may change how your body absorbs certain medicines. Ask your provider or pharmacist for more information about this.
The medicines below are given to most people after they have had a heart attack. Sometimes there is a reason they may not be safe to take, though. These medicines help prevent another heart attack. Talk with your provider if you are not already on any of these medicines:
DO NOT suddenly stop taking these medicines for your heart. DO NOT stop taking medicines for your diabetes, high blood pressure, or any other medical conditions you may have without talking with your provider first.
If you are taking a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin), you may need to have extra blood tests on a regular basis to make sure your dose is correct.
When to Call the Doctor
Call your provider if you feel:
Changes in your angina may mean your heart disease is getting worse. Call your provider if your angina:
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Review Date: 7/25/2018
Reviewed By: Michael A. Chen, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical School, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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