Heart Attack – What to Expect

What Happens During a Heart Attack?

A heart attack happens when blood flow to a section of the heart becomes blocked. Heart attacks are different for everyone. Some are sudden and intense and sometimes accompanied by chest pain. Most heart attacks, however, start slowly with mild pain and discomfort. Symptoms can vary among men and women.

What Happens to Blood Pressure During a Heart Attack?

In most people, a heart attack increases your blood pressure. Sometimes a heart attack can cause a decrease in blood pressure, and in some cases, there is little change to a person’s blood pressure.

Blood pressure changes during a heart attack are unpredictable, therefore doctors generally do not use it as a sign of a heart attack.

Heart Attack Recovery Time

Recovery from a heart attack doesn’t happen immediately after leaving the hospital. Depending on the severity, it may take a few weeks to a few months to fully recover. While rest is important after a heart attack, it is also important for heart attack survivors to get more physical activity than they did before.

A big part of recovery can be to implement lifestyle changes that may take time. If you or a loved one has recently experienced a heart attack be sure to allow yourself time to recover and don’t put pressure on yourself to bounce back overnight.

Heart Attack Rehabilitation Treatments

Cardiac rehabilitation programs are extremely important after a heart attack. Banner Health offers medically supervised rehabilitation programs to help improve your health. These treatments may include lifestyle changes, education and counseling, and exercise training. You can participate in these programs at a Banner Health hospital or with the help of a healthcare professional.

Learn more about our rehabilitation services

Lifestyle Changes to Make After a Heart Attack

If you experience a heart attack, making lifestyle changes is the key to preventing another heart attack, heart disease, and stroke. An easy way to remember some of these changes are through the ABCs of prevention:

  • Avoid Tobacco
  • Become More Active
  • Choose Good Nutrition

If you’re unsure about what to do after a heart attack, your doctor can guide you towards the best way to make these lifestyle changes.

What Happens If a Heart Attack Goes Untreated?

Since some heart attack symptoms lack the intensity of classic heart attacks, they may go untreated. Each minute a heart attack goes untreated, your heart loses muscle cells. Restoring blood flow to your heart is imperative before critical heart tissue dies or is damaged. If left untreated, a heart attack can weaken your heart and cause heart failure later on down the line. If you think you’ve suffered a heart attack, contact a Banner health professional immediately.