Working After a Heart Attack

Most people can return to work after having a heart attack, but how quickly will depend on your health, the state of your heart, as well as the kind of work you do. If your job involves light duties, such as office work, you might be able to return to work in as little as two weeks.  However, a new study out of Denmark found one in four heart attack patients actually drop out of the workforce shortly after returning to their jobs.  You might be asking, “why?”

Researchers found the ability to stay employed after a heart attack is extremely important and essential to keeping your quality of life, self-esteem, as well as emotional and financial stability.  However, when evaluating the patient’s quality of life and the ability to function properly, the study found that simply returning to work after a heart attack may not be enough to sustain your well-being.  Researchers say the findings suggest cardiac rehabilitation after a heart attack should also focus on helping people keep their long-term ability to work.

Tips for Returning to Work after a Heart Attack

Here are some tips to remember when going back to work after suffering a heart attack:

  1. Don’t go back too early.  You may be feeling 100% and very alert while at home recovering, but your work requires you to have 100% concentration, especially if you work in a dangerous sector, such as construction.
  2. If you are able, go back to the job you were doing before you suffered the heart attack.  Changing jobs or responsibilities can be stressful.
  3. Set weekly goals for a few months.  These can help you focus.
  4. Communication is important, both with your co-workers and employer.  They both need to know your limitations and abilities as you recover.
  5. And, finally, give yourself a “pat on the back.” Remember to acknowledge how much hard work you have already done to return to work.