8 Lifestyle changes to be adopted after Angioplasty
Understanding Angioplasty and Stent Implantation & How life changes after the procedure
The human body can withstand a lot of things. However as people age, their bodies also start becoming weaker. The years of wear and tear starts affecting the body. Sometimes, it becomes imminent for people to undergo several treatments, including various non-invasive procedures and invasive surgeries. And while your life can go back to the normal routine post any procedure, it can never truly be the same. You need to change your lifestyle to a great extent, to reduce any future incidents that can have a more severe effect on your body. For instance, people who go through an angioplasty and stent implantation have to make some radical lifestyle changes. This article explains what angioplasty is and how life is after angioplasty and stent implantation. Read on to find out.
What is angioplasty?
Angioplasty is essentially a minimally-invasive procedure. In this procedure, the interventional cardiologist removes the blockage from the artery for a smooth flow of blood, thus ensuring heart muscles get enough oxygen. Blocked and narrowed arteries can cause heart attacks, and angioplasty reduces the risk of heart attacks by restoring the proper blood and oxygen supply to the heart.
When a coronary angioplasty is performed, the interventional cardiologist inserts a thin catheter which is mounted with a tiny balloon into the blocked artery, via a small incision in the arm or the groin area. The balloon is inflated once the catheter is placed in the right spot, and this removes the blockage from the artery by pushing it aside radially. It thus allows the blood to flow once again.
Angioplasty as a treatment helps patients avoid majorly invasive procedures like bypass surgeries. As compared to bypass, an angioplasty is a relatively quick and painless procedure that allows patients to get back to their routine activities in just a few days.
What is a stent implant?
Most patients who undergo an angioplasty procedure also have to undergo stent implantation. A stent is essentially a small, latticed metal scaffold, which is introduced into the patient’s blood vessel, on a balloon catheter. Most modern stents have a drug coating on them for better clinical outcomes in the long run. The type of stent used depends on patient’s condition as assessed by the interventional cardiologist. The stent is chosen based on the location of where it is to be inserted and the condition of the narrowing in the patient’s coronary artery. The operator then plots the catheter into the blocked artery, after which he inflates the balloon upon which the stent is crimped. Upon balloon inflation, the stent starts to expand outwards towards the vessel wall. The balloon is then deflated and withdrawn and the stent then stays in its place permanently. It holds the blood vessel lumen open and improves the blood flow.
An Interventional cardiologist may insert one or more of these stents, depending upon the number of blockages. While Meril offers various DES stent that assists with early vascular healing, Evermine50 stent is a breakthrough in DES technology with clinically established drug everolimus with biodegradable polymer having Ultra-low strut thickness of 50μm and hybrid cell stent design
Lifestyle changes after angioplasty
The post-procedure recovery period can be indeed long, and the body can take its time to slowly and steadily regain its strength. It is essential that patients make steady improvements with every passing day, and adopt some additional, necessary measures. Here are some lifestyle changes to adopt after undergoing an angioplasty.
The patient must quit smoking
Life after angioplasty strictly involves smoking cessation. Smoking can damage the artery lining and also cause fat to build up. This, in turn, causes the narrowing of the artery and hampers the blood flow in the body. Both active and passive smokers (people in close physical contact with active smokers) are highly likely to develop more severe heart conditions due to exposure to smoke.
The patient must take medications and consult the doctor in case of irregularities
After the angioplasty, the doctor typically advises the patient to take certain medicines which are meant to enhance heart recovery and regain body strength. As such, patients must be vigilant and ensure that they do not miss a single dose of their medication. Typically, the doctor may prescribe medicines which serve as blood thinners which are meant to ease the flow of blood, along with thrombolytics which dissolve clots, nitro-glycerine which widens blood vessels etc. The doctor may also prescribe pain killers so that the patient can manage the pain. When patients take these medications they may experience a few side-effects, which should be discussed with the doctor before discharge. Patients should immediately consult the doctor if they notice any discussed side-effects or have any doubts, so that the doctor can review and address issues immediately.
The patient must follow a healthy diet
Another critical lifestyle change after angioplasty one must adapt is following a healthy diet.. As such, some strict diet changes may be in order. Patients are most often advised to avoid unhealthy foods containing high levels of sodium, cholesterol, trans-fats and saturated fats, and so on. The diet should include foods rich in iron and essential vitamins such as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy, fibre, dry fruits, etc. Essentially, the patient must ensure that the foods they consume are nutritionally balanced as advised by a dietician or other healthcare professional involved in the treatment.
The patient must consider taking up more physical activities
One of the most common causes of heart problems is that most patients are physically inactive. As such, once the heart condition is cured through angioplasty or stent implant, patients must ensure that they increase their physical activities as per due guidance from doctors. You can start with low to moderate physical activities like walking short distances or going up and down the stairs twice or thrice a day. They can also consider light stretching exercises and aerobics. However, one must avoid all forms of strenuous workouts altogether, such as lifting anything heavier than 5 kilograms, for at least six weeks after undergoing the procedure. Patients must also consult their doctor before resuming sexual activity.
Obese patients must manage their weight
Weight management is another crucial lifestyle change after angioplasty that one mustn’t ignore, especially if one is obese. Weight management is directly linked to heart management. Cardiac arrests are often caused due to obesity which is why one must take the necessary steps to address their obesity. Weight can be managed by combining physical activities and maintaining a healthy diet. The patient must regulate the intake of calories. However, they must avoid crash diets. Instead, they can introduce nutritional foods like vegetables and fruits in their every-day diet, so that they can maintain their weight naturally.
The patient must take necessary steps to reduce stress levels
Stress of any kind is not good for the heart. Increased stress levels can aggravate heart conditions, cause blood pressure problems, and damage the arteries. These conditions, in turn, lead to surgeries like angioplasty. As such patients must take the necessary steps to reduce their stress levels. An excellent way to manage stress is to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation or take up hobbies that can reduce overall stress and assist in maintaining heart health.
The patient must limit alcohol intake
Life after stent placement should have no room for excessive alcohol. Patients must strictly limit their alcohol consumption. Excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to a wide variety of health complications – from increased blood pressure to strokes, irregular heartbeats and cardiomyopathy or heart muscle diseases. High consumption of alcohol also contributes to health issues such as obesity, fatigue, and strokes, all of which can trigger heart problems again.
The patient must go for regular follow-ups
Patients who undergo angioplasty and stent placement must ensure that they follow up with their doctors regularly. They should not miss any check-ups and also keep an eye on the cholesterol and blood sugar levels. They must consult their doctors if they notice even a small change or if they experience any sudden or inexplicable pains.
Final note: Angioplasty procedures do not involve any significant incisions as they are minimally invasive to the body. One can go back to their normal routine within 2 to 3 days after undergoing the procedure, depending on the doctors’ recommendations. However, patients who undergo this procedure must ensure they follow the above-mentioned lifestyle changes to lead a long and healthy life after stent placement.