People are very keen to prove that small quantities of alcohol are actually very beneficial to the heart, but definite proof of this is only available for some types of French red wine. If you must take alcohol, make sure that it is in moderation. Remember that you may be on tablets that react with alcohol.
Smoking is absolutely prohibited. Even one cigarette can cause immense damage to your grafts. This is because it causes severe platelet aggregation.
How much exercise do I need?
After a cardiac operation, the best form of exercise recommended is walking. If you can walk a couple of miles each day you may not need any additional exercise. If you are used to strenuous exercise before the operation, you must try and return to your pre-operative level of exercise by six months after the operation.
When can I Drive?
After cardiac surgery most people will feel fit to drive within a few weeks after the operation. However, at this time the sternum or the chest bone is not strong enough to withstand a major impact in the unfortunate event of any mishap or accident. It is therefore wise to resist the temptation to drive till about 8 weeks after the operation and to let somebody else do the driving.
When can I fly?
It is appropriate for most people who need to fly home to wait for about a week to ten days after discharge from the hospital. Your surgeon or cardiologist would then examine you, do an X-Ray, and authorize you to fly home. Some international airlines may need a certificate of fitness before allowing you on board, but they are usually very helpful and cooperative with patients.
When can I have sex after the operation?
It was traditional to advise patients not to have sex till 6-8 weeks after the operation , but recent thoughts are that if the patient is fit to climb two flights of stairs without any brethlessness, there is no reason to withold sex any longer, as sex is emotionally relaxing and refreshing.
When can I get back to work?
You are recommended to take at least eight weeks leave after the operation. It is best to see your surgeon about six weeks after the operation, at which time after a thorough check-up he would recommend that you phase yourself back into work, aiming to get into the full working routine after another couple of weeks. In case you are involved in strenuous work. You may have to be treated as a special case.
In a nutshell, today the cardiologist and the surgeon have many ways of tackling heart disease. The aim of treatment is to enable you to lead a pain free, comfortable and unimpaired life-style. It is towards the attainment of this goal that we continue to strive.
Diet in Cardiovascular Disease Introduction
Congratulations for having successfully undergone your operation. We have tried to compile here a diet for you that is easy to follow and that leaves several options open so that you can enjoy a varied menu. This is a balanced diet, and it contains all the essential constituents of food, like protein, carbohydrates and some fat, all of which are essential for a healthy life.
In the first couple of weeks after your operation, you may have a poor appetite. At this stage/try not to impose too strict a regimen on yourself.
- Try and use a low cholesterol oil for cooking, like saffola, corn oil, or sunflower oil. Olive oil is also good but should not be used for deep frying.
- Heavy pulses like rajma, broad beans, Chhole. Harbara contain a lot of protein, but they need to be cooked in plenty of Fat; they also produce a lot of flatulence (gas). If you have eaten them and experience “gas”, do not panic. The best treatment for “gas” is a long walk. It gets your intestines moving, and this gets rid of the nuisance. Home remedies like churans and other advertised products artificially increase the motility of the intestine and are probably harmful in the long term.
- Most Indian foods are cooked with a lot of carminatives. These are substances like elaichi, taj, laving which stimulate the intestine and result in plenty of flatulence. Some amount of flatulence and gas is natural, and while socially embarrassing, is a fact of life, and long walks are the best cure.
- “Sodas”, carbonated drinks, arc best avoided. They are traditionally thought of as good cures for gas because one burps with them, but they themselves cause increased gas in the stomach.
- Cakes, pastries, cream, ice cream and kulfi and also some Indian sweets are very high in fat content. If one is forced to indulge in them, have only a small amount, as in prasadam.
- Dry fruits (except probably resins and apricots) are best excluded from the diet as they contain a lot of cholesterol. Particularly avoid them.
- Shortly after the operation you may have a couple of kilos of variation in your weight. This is because of the water that is present in your system. The weight tends to stabilise in a couple of weeks.
- Not everybody needs to lose weight after the operation. If you have been advised to lose weight, try to lose not more than a kilo or two each month. Faster loss than this is probably harmful to the system.