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Safe Weight Loss After Heart Surgery

written by: angiem1981 • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 11/28/2010

Weight loss after heart surgery can be very beneficial to some patients. Decreased work load on the heart and improved vascular functioning are just a few of the perks. However, weight loss interventions need to be safe, especially during the recovery period.

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    Weight Loss Post Heart Surgery Overview

    Weight loss after heart surgery can help decrease the potential of heart attack, stroke and several other serious conditions. Those which are considered at high risk, such as those that suffer from diabetes for example, may gain several different benefits from this. Although there are various diets and exercise programs out there, the cardiac patient needs to be careful. The goal isn’t only to lose weight, but to do so in a safe manner. Some of the more popular programs may not be suitable for the cardiac patient and can result in sometimes deadly complications.

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    Weight Loss Drugs, Herbals and Supplements

    Despite the fact that there are herbals, over-the-counter and prescription drugs that can help decrease the appetite, resulting in weight loss, these may not be safe for the heart patient. As a matter of fact, herbal supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and as with other products; they can interact with other medications or cause an allergic reaction. Patients with certain medical conditions, including heart problems may often find that they are strongly advised not to take many of these medications and supplements, herbal or not. However, some patients may be prescribed weight loss drugs if the physician believes the benefit outweighs the risks and the individual is under close supervision. This will depend on the client's condition, type of surgery and whether or not the patient suffers from any other health conditions.

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    Diet and Exercise

    Lifestyle changes involving diet and exercise are generally the safest ways to lose weight after having heart surgery. Cardiac patients are encouraged to reduce sodium intake and avoid fried and fatty foods, which can ultimately contribute to weight loss. However, changes in eating patterns alone may not be entirely sufficient. Partaking regularly in exercise is a safe and effective way to lose weight after heart surgery. Depending on the cardiac procedure, some can even begin mild cardiovascular conditioning exercises such as walking, upon release from the hospital. You should always make sure that your physician gives the program an okay before proceeding and never push yourself beyond the limits.

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    Other Considerations

    Weight loss after heart surgery is highly possible and can even help save your life. However, drastic measures, such as fad or crash diets and excessive exercise are not recommended. The level of activity should be built up gradually, over a set period of time. It’s always a good idea to discuss the weight loss plan with the physician, as he or she may be able to assist in the process. Safe weight loss occurs over time and can improve the overall health. In certain situations, the individual may be a candidate for weight loss surgery. However, these procedures may be contraindicated with particular cardiac diseases and disorders.

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    Bibliography

    Life After Open Heart Surgery. Mid-Atlantic Surgical Associated. 2008. Viewed 27, November 2010. http://www.heartsurgeons.com/ed5.html

    Over-the-Counter and Herbal Remedies for Weight Loss. Cleveland Clinic. Reviewed 4, March 2010. Viewed 27, November 2010. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/healthy_living/Weight_Control/hic_Over-the-Counter_and_Herbal_Remedies_for_Weight_Loss.aspx