Heart attack 10 days ago. What happen... - British Heart Fou...

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Heart attack 10 days ago. What happens next?

Carl1167 profile image

Hello, I am a newbie here.

10 days ago I had a heart attack, 2 stents fitted and some complications with fluid build up in my lungs. I spent 6 nights in hospital and I am struggling to come to terms with what has happened.

Has anyone else experienced problems sleeping and night terrors?

Can anyone let me have any threads that would help me?

Thank you

9 Replies

Hi Carl, and welcome to the club :)

Just about everyone suffers insomnia and anxiety to some degree or other after a heart attack, so yes it's perfectly normal. In fact, NOT experiencing them after coming up hard against your own mortality would be a little odd!

At 10 days it's still really early days for you and it does improve. Every time you wake up is another chance to remind yourself that the fears the night before were unfounded and, over time, that makes a difference.

Hopefully some form of rehab will be available. If it is then grab the chance and use it. It'll really help you to learn what you CAN do rather than the natural tendency to focus on what you can't.

A heart attack that you survive (the really important bit!) doesn't automatically mean a life of sitting in a rocking chair with your pills always in reach just "waiting for the day".

With a little luck & a tail wind it can turn out to be a life changing event in a really positive way - mine took me from a 51 year old 108kg blob of sedentary watchmaker 2 1/2 years ago to 85kg (and dropping) and preparing fir my first half marathon this September. I know I was lucky, and (after the wobbles at the start) I've tried to make sure I don't waste that luck!

So, follow the advice (but don't stress over the bits you maybe can't) and make good use of the second chance those amazing medics have given you :)

Thank you so much, this was exactly what I needed to hear. I am so glad I found this forum.

You're welcome :)

We've all been there and the natural reaction is to curl up in a ball of bubble wrap to "protect" ourselves. Which is about the worst possible thing to do - physically and mentally.

Physically, pushing (gently) at our limits is what encourages the biological changes that are good and, mentally, reaching for those limits is a big part of rebuilding confidence.

I'm not talking beastings in the gym or tackling the London marathon, but walking that extra 5 minutes when you're feeling physically OK but your mind's starting to panic about how far you've gone.

Next time, that extra 5 minutes is a lot less scary!

It was naturally, sort of watching diet (but not too good at that) and a LOT of exercise to compensate.

I do know what you mean about the problems of losing weight when you can't burn calories though - my partner's in that situation thanks to all sorts of mobility problems and, despite eating like a sparrow, simply can't shift it. Which makes the mobility problems worse, which....

The suggestions above about swimming are good - if you can work round your concerns then it really is a very effective way to burn calories without loading joints. Even the resistance of just walking through water increases energy consumption massively while the water supports you.

Yes I had the night scares I used to wake up doing the night a lot I used to go for a walk at 5in the morning so I did not keep waking partner I am a lot better now but it’s been a year so keep looking positive I know that’s hard but it does get better in time it took a three month hopefully you be able to go rehabilitation with I could not because they were closed do to COVID hope this helps good luck if you want to know any more let me know

Thank you Roger. I have found that half of the problem is I am also worrying about disturbing my lovely wife, who has taken up all the slack as well as nursing and worrying about me.

Welcome to the board. Yes for the first few nights at home I was quite sleepless worried that I would not wake up. But I found that passed and I kept gtn spray with me as a comfort blanket. 4 months on and with 6 stents I am doing most of the physical activity things I used to do in the garden and DIY and my sleep is undisturbed. I hope things improve for you over time

Hey Carl. It is worrying without any doubt. It took me a month to come to terms what happened to me (For a 40 year old fit guy running everyday). But look at the bright side of things and your condition will massively improve. Things do get better after few months. Start physical activity as much as you can bear and take cardiac rehab with both hands.

Some pains which we experience after HA are anxiety related and most of those are from the bruises caused by stents. They will gradually ease up

I thought i knew everything about rehab but for us heart patients, goals are different. So I myself gained massively from Cardiac rehab.

I am 4 month down my HA and still get odd pains around chest / back but I have understood the red flags which we all do.

There is a life beyond this episode and for some people HA turns their life around for good.

Hello! I had a STEMI heart attack completely out of the blue just over seven weeks ago. Still get night terrors, still get terrible anxiety about it happening again, but it is getting better. My advice would be to check you’ve been referred for cardiac rehab and to call the local cardiac rehab team to check they’ve received your referral. The assessment isn’t usually until about a month after the heart attack. Nobody told me this & I thought I’d been abandoned! It’s all over video call/phone atm, but better than nothing.

Also check about a month on about a follow-up appointment if you’ve not received one by then. I’d not had one. Turned out it should have been made prior to my hospital discharge, but hadn’t been.

I found the BHF nurse helpline really useful and reassuring in the early days.

Last thing - do what you feel you’re able to. It’s very early on for you, but it will get easier.

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