The time taken for overall angioplasty recovery depends on many smaller factors, including the exercise routine that you follow, your daily activities, the medications you take, and your diet. Your aim during the entire recovery phase after an angioplasty should be to keep your heart healthy and well.
Here are some short and long term tips that can help you keep your heart healthy and speed up the recovery process.
When Does The Angioplasty Recovery Phase Start?
Patients are often discharged on the same day or immediate next day after an angioplasty procedure. They may return to performing routine activities within a week of the procedure.
Some routine activities can be performed in the given timelines.
- Bathing/Getting Dressed – Same day or the day after discharge
- Walking (With Assistance) - 6 hours after an angioplasty
- Cycling - 2 weeks after an angioplasty
- Returning To Work – This depends on the type and duration of work (usually after 7-10 days)
- Sex – 3 to 4 days after an angioplasty
- Driving – Should be avoided for at least 7- 10 days after an angioplasty
- Travelling - Possibly 4 weeks after an angioplasty
Short Term Angioplasty Recovery Tips
These are immediate measures to be followed for keeping your heart healthy.
Exercise in the form of comfortable, non-exhaustive movements may be started within 3-4 days after an angioplasty. When you feel comfortable, you can begin with moderate exercises that don’t involve a lot of activity. You can plan the regimen as per your convenience too.
Remember that you should not have chest pain (angina) while exercising; rather it should make you feel energetic and better.
The different types of exercise that you can try are:
- Alternating between standing and sitting positions
- Raising and lowering your arms
- Marching on the spot
Three to four days after the angioplasty, you may start walking. To start with, it is good to walk 1-2 miles (30-60 minutes) a day. This can be extended to even 3-5 miles a day around six to eight weeks later, as per your comfort and ease.
Exercising will make your heart beat rapidly, and this will help improve its efficiency day by day. These moderate exercises will keep you energetic and your heart healthy.
When Should You Stop Exercising?
The below signs will warn you that you’re exceeding the capacity of your heart:
- Chest pain
- Chest discomfort
- Feeling of exhaustion
It is extremely important to eat and drink healthy food items during the angioplasty recovery phase.
Foods You Should Avoid
Avoid foods with high fat content. They mainly contain saturated fatty acids that increase ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-Low density lipoproteins) in your blood, and can damage your heart after an angioplasty.
- Butter and cheese are rich in fats
- Fast foods/ processed food (biscuits, cakes) have high fat content
Food You Should Eat
During the angioplasty recovery phase, choose food with low fat content, and make sure that your diet features cereals, beans, rice, pulses, and grains as they have very low fats in them.
Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) and omega fatty acids are beneficial for you. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids cut down the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase the level of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL- High density lipoproteins) in the blood.
- Olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn and soya oil are rich in PUFA
- You can eat oily fishes like sardines, mackerel, herrings, and pilchards, as they are rich in omega fatty acid
Also, enrich your diet with fruits and green leafy vegetables and take your meals regularly.
Long Term Angioplasty Recovery Tips
Long term angioplasty recovery measures involve adapting to this healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.
What You Should Do On A Long Term
- Exercise: Make it a part of your daily routine.
- Stress Management: Meditation can help you relax in this regard.
- Avoid Smoking: If you are a chronic smoker, you are directly posing a risk to your heart again.
- Alcohol: Use should be sensible, and not more than 21-28 units (for men), and 14-21 units (women) per week. (‘1 unit’ equals ‘half a pint’ of normal strength beer)
- High BP and Diabetes: High blood pressure and diabetes are strongly associated with heart diseases. Regularly check your blood sugar and blood pressure. Eat less salt, as it raises the blood pressure.
- Medicines: Strictly follow the dosages and schedules advised by your doctor. Never skip/ stop them abruptly without your doctor’s advice.
Remember, you are on your own when it comes to angioplasty recovery. The better measures you take, the sooner you’ll recover.