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MI Guidelines

Cardiac Patient Care Handbook

Follow these guidelines from cardiac rehab until you are seen by your doctor. Everyone is different and your doctor is the best guide to your care. Always follow your doctor’s advice.

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Self Care

  • You may shower or use the bathtub. If you become easily fatigued, use a seat in the shower. Have all bath items close to you when bathing. Take a rest after bathing. Leave door open to allow for better airflow in room.
  • Get up and get dressed in comfortable street clothes every day.
  • Perform grooming activities as tolerated.
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Rest

  • Follow a low fat diet. Limit calories and reduce salt.
  • Eat more fiber and carbohydrates.
  • Decaffeinated coffee, tea, or soft drink products are recommended. Caffeine increases the heart rate.
  • Alcoholic drinks slow down reflexes, dilate blood vessels, increase heart rate and raise blood pressure. Limit drinks to 1 or 2 a day at the most if allowed by your doctor.
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Activities

  • Space your tasks. Do not do everything at one time. Rest in between tasks.
  • Limit visits to family and close friends. Do not let visits disrupt your rest periods and tire you.
  • Avoid doing actions that tense your body such as straining when you have a bowel movement. Ask you doctor for a stool softener if needed.
  • Do not lift objects over 10 to 20 pounds. Do not strain to open jars or windows that are stuck.
  • Learn good ways to relax and practice it at least once daily.
  • Climbing stairs is also very hard and you should limit stair use, or climb one step at a time with pauses between steps.
  • Read, watch TV, and try your hand at crafts.
  • Make small meals for yourself; help others with meals, wash dishes.
  • Avoid caffeine products because they tend to increase the heart rate.
  • Sex may be resumed in about 4 weeks unless told otherwise.
  • If a home walking program was given to you, follow as instructed.
  • Your doctor will tell you when you can drive. The time span may be 2 to 4 weeks.
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Medications

  • Know your medications and their side effects.
  • Carry a list with you.
  • Carry your nitroglycerin with you if ordered by your doctor.
  • Talk with your doctor if you have a problem with taking your meds. Do not stop taking them yourself.
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Emotions

  • You may feel depressed after a heart attack. Support groups are available. Please check with the Cardiac Rehab staff.
  • Eat more fiber and carbohydrates.
  • Decaffeinated coffee, tea, or soft drink products are recommended. Caffeine increases the heart rate.
  • Alcoholic drinks slow down reflexes, dilate blood vessels, increase heart rate and raise blood pressure. Limit drinks to 1 or 2 a day at the most if allowed by your doctor.
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Rest

  • Follow a low fat diet. Limit calories and reduce salt.
  • Be good to yourself.
  • Do things you enjoy.
  • Talk with family and friends about your feelings.
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Copyright ©2013 Mercy. Last modified 7/20/2010