In a new study, researchers found that many people surviving a heart attack desire to return to work.
They suggest that if these people follow several tips, they can get back to work successfully.
The research was conducted by a team from the University of Potsdam, Germany.
In the study, the researchers found that between 67% and 93% of patients with heart attack and chest pain could return to work in two to three months. But 25% quit after one year.
In people over 55, women are less likely to go back to employment than men.
The researchers suggest that the possibility of returning to work mainly depends on the patient’s decision.
Some psychological factors, such as lack of confidence, depression, and anxiety prevent patients returning to work.
The patient’s medical condition and the type of work can also have an impact.
For example, blue-collar workers may find it hard to work if they have heart failure that reduces physical performance.
People using cardiac devices may need to avoid workplaces with electrical fields.
They also found that men are more likely to go back to work because there is a traditional idea that the man is the breadwinner.
Women tend to have more doubts about their ability to perform their prior tasks, particularly blue-collar roles.
Well-educated women with white collar jobs don’t have this problem.
The researchers also found that patients who smoke and are overweight or obese were likely to quit after a year.
To successfully return to work, the team suggests that the best way is to return to the job the patient already knows.
If patients are not able to keep up with the workload, they should change it before it becomes unmanageable. Reducing stress is very important, too.
According to the team, four tips can help heart attack patients go back to work smoothly:
Attend cardiac rehabilitation for advice on a healthy lifestyle and get personalized advice from a cardiologist, psychologist, physiotherapist, social worker, and occupational therapist on getting back into employment.
Don’t change jobs.
Take it gradually if needed. Do fewer hours/days in the beginning, work from home once a week, take more breaks, delegate some responsibility.
Stay in contact with doctors and adjust the workload if needed.
The team suggests that patients who believe they can still do their job and want to go back can do it successfully.
The paper was written by the Secondary Prevention and Rehabilitation Section, European Association of Preventive Cardiology (EAPC) of the ESC.
The study is published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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