While it is possible to make a full heart attack recovery, most people who have a heart attack never make a full recovery and must adapt their lifestyles to prevent future heart attacks or even death. After three to five days in the hospital, a patient is likely to be discharged unless he or she has undergone a surgery, in which case the hospital stay may be longer. Once at home, the heart attack sufferer will need to take part in a heart attack recovery plan that will most likely involve medications and exercise. People may take these medications for a set period of time, or for the rest of their lives.
Just about all people who suffer heart attacks must change daily habits during heart attack recovery. Cardiac rehabilitation programs help people develop new diets, exercise routines, and healthy daily habits that will help prevent future heart attacks and help the heart heal from the most recent one. The heart can incur scar tissue as a result of the heart attack, and this scar tissue is sometimes permanent, which means the heart is irrevocably damaged. Other steps will need to be taken to ensure heart attack recovery and to encourage healthy habits that will lower heart rate and prevent blood clots.
Some heart attack sufferers make a full recovery within weeks or months of the heart attack, while others may need to rest for much longer periods of time and feel the after-effects of the heart attack for months or even years. Shortness of breath, chest pains, and other common symptoms may be felt during the heart attack recovery period, and the medications are often meant to help prevent such symptoms and to help the heart heal more quickly. The recovery time will depend on several factors, including the overall health of the heart attack sufferer and the changes he or she makes after the heart attack occurs.
In some cases, a heart attack sufferer may need to undergo surgery to repair damage to the heart. This is a more serious condition, and there is a substantial risk of long-term effects as well as a risk of death. A person recovering from a heart attack that required surgery may never make a full recovery, and those who do will undergo a very long heart attack recovery period that can last months or years; lasting effects are likely in just about all heart attack sufferers.