LIVING WITH HEART DISEASE
Heart disease has many lifelong implications. After a heart attack or surgery there is a recovery period and rehabilitation is needed. For many types for heart disease there are ongoing symptoms that require ongoing treatment and changes in lifestyle. An important part of living with heart disease is to prevent existing heart disease from worsening and causing further cardiac events such as heart attacks or strokes.
Recovery and support
Search for a list of organisations in our Heart Support Directory that can provide rehabilitation services, support, long term care, or help you to get healthy again.
Phone us on 021 422 1586 for lifestyle advice or to help you locate support services near you.
Preventing future heart disease
Learn more about healthy living
Find out more about treatment for heart diseases
Frequently asked questions about living with heart disease
- Heart conditions develop due to different reasons, and although poor food choices are often one of the contributors, it is not always the case. However, after a heart attack or heart surgery, it is always important to eat a heart-healthy diet to protect your heart and blood vessels from further damage.
- A heart-healthy diet should be tailored to your risk factors for further heart disease, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, being overweight, or other medical conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, kidney disease, etc.
- If you have existing heart disease, it is highly recommended that you make an appointment with a dietitian to discuss your current eating habits and to receive individualised advice. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian or find one here.
- Sex has a similar effect on the heart to exercise. Many people are scared of resuming sex after a heart attack or surgery for fear of another heart attack or chest pain.
- Some people with heart conditions needlessly avoid sex whilst others with unstable disease or severe symptoms should wait until they are more stable.
- The biggest problem is that sex is often an uncomfortable conversation that neither the doctor nor the patient wants to start. Yet your doctor can provide the most suitable advice relevant to your medical condition and recovery. Don’t be shy to ask!
- Not being active is one of the causes of heart disease and strokes. Once you have recovered and are stable, exercise can help to avoid another event.
- Ask your doctor when you can start and how much you can do. A biokineticist can structure a gradual reintroduction of exercise and provide supervised exercise sessions. Find a biokineticist here.
- Take it easy at the start, build your activity up gradually, and stop if you start to feel unwell during exercise.