A heart bypass surgery is performed to restore the blood flow and oxygen to the heart by using blood vessels from another part of the body – such as chest, or leg veins – and connecting them with blood vessels that are below or above the blocked or narrowed artery; hence, leading to a bypass for the compromised artery. The number of arteries used to connect is dependent on the severity of the condition. The procedure is highly successful and is one of the prime methods used to correct blockages, narrowing or leakages in arteries. While the surgery itself might be quite strenuous, it is widely used to cure heart problems. But just the heart bypass surgery is not sufficient to guarantee good heart health and minimise chances of another heart problem or attack. The problems of the heart have been cured, but the underlying process of build of plaque could further block the carotid arteries leading to the brain, stop blood flow to the legs, or kidneys. In such cases, the patient might also suffer from a stroke, or several other diseases. However, if risk factors that can trigger health problem are removed, the chances of a healthy heart post a heart bypass surgery increase to large extent. Life after heart bypass surgery would require some strict modifications in lifestyle and adoptions of certain processes.
Slow Healing Process: Post a heart bypass surgery, the recovery period would be long and one must let the body regain strength slowly and steadily. Make steady improvements each day but never pressurise the heart in any condition. Consult the doctor about the involvement in physical activities.
No Smoking: Life after a heart bypass surgery will strictly restrict smoking. Smoking damages the lining of the arteries causing fat to build up, which ultimately leads to narrowing of the artery and hampering of flow of blood in the body. Not just smokers but even non-smokers are highly subject to developing heart diseases due to prolonged exposure to smoke.
Regular Medications: Once the heart bypass surgery is done, the doctor will advise certain medications to enhance the recovery of the heart and regain its strength. It is very critical to ensure that no dosages of the medicines are missed. These medications could include blood thinners (to restore blood flow), thrombolytics (to dissolve clots), nitroglycerin (to widen blood vessels), antiplatelet (to prevent new clots), and pain killers (to cub the pain). During the intake of these medicines, the body might experience few negligible changes such as sensitivity to bruise easily, longer bleeding from clots, etc.
Healthy Diet: After a heart bypass surgery, life needs to bring in changes in diet. Unhealthy foods that are high on cholesterol, sodium, trans fat, saturated fat, etc. should be avoided. Instead, foods such as green leafy vegetables, fish, whole grains, seeds, low-fat dairy, dry-fruits, fibre, etc. should be consumed and fit into the regular diet. Also, the diet should be full of nutrition.
Easy Physical Activity: One of the major causes of a heart problem is physical inactivity. Hence, once the heart problem is cured via a heart bypass surgery, the physical activity needs to improve. However, no strenuous workouts should be undertaken; only low-to-moderate physical activities such as walk should be assumed. Remember to not lift anything heavier than 10 pounds up until six weeks of heart bypass surgery. One can also resume sexual activity post consultation with the doctor.
Lowering Stress: Once done with the heart bypass surgery, one could practice yoga, meditation or increase involvement in hobbies to reduce overall stress and maintain heart health. It is necessary to manage stress after the heart bypass surgery because stress is also another factor responsible for heart problem. Stress increases heart rate and also shuffles the blood pressure, causing a lot of damage to the arteries.
Healthy Weight: Post the heart bypass surgery, management of weight become very critical to maintain a healthy heart. Obesity is one the major reasons for a cardiac arrest and needs to be completely sorted. Soft workouts each day, healthy eating, controlled calories intake, nutritional food should be adapted to maintain a healthy weight.
Limited Alcohol Intake: Life after a heart bypass surgery will not allow excessive alcohol. Strict limitations need to be put upon quantity of alcohol consumed. Excessive alcohol consumption increases chances of high blood pressure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, irregular heartbeats, etc. Too much alcohol is also a contributor for obesity, alcoholism and more. All of which could trigger the heart problem again.
Follow-up tests: Another very important factor that needs to be followed strictly after a heart bypass surgery is to have regular check-ups to keep an eye on blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, etc.
Overall, life after a heart bypass surgery might not be as bright as before, but it certainly is not gloomy. It is another chance at life and one that needs attentive care and strict modifications in lifestyle.