A heart attack occurs when the flow of oxygenated blood to a part of heart suddenly gets restricted. If the blood flow does not get restored shortly, the part of the heart muscle stops beating and begins to die. Most often heart attack occurs due to coronary heart disease (CHD).
How Long Do You Have To Wait To Drive After A Heart Attack?
In less severe cases, people can return to driving after a week of the attack only if other conditions and complications are not associated. Nevertheless, in serious cases, patients may be asked to stop driving for few weeks. Doctors and rehabilitation team generally advise patients to wait for four weeks after a heart attack to start driving.
When to Inform Driving and the Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) about a Heart Attack?
If the patient who has suffered a heart attack drives a large goods vehicle or passenger carrying vehicle, he has to inform the DVLA about the incidence of heart attack. In such a case, the driving license of the patient gets suspended for a temporary period, the duration of which is at least six weeks until the recovery time. Once the patient recovers, the license gets reissued after passing a basic health and fitness test. In cases where a patient drives a personal car or a motorcycle, he does not have to inform the DVLA.
What are the Conditions of Getting a Driving License after a Heart Attack?
A heart attack does not stop a person from driving, but the licensing agency may set some restrictions to ensure safe driving after a heart attack. A driving license post a heart attack might have some requirements such as-
- Obey of minimum non-driving advisory periods.
- Absence of symptoms affecting driving; such as palpitation, chest pain and breathlessness.
- Satisfactory results from the treatment done after a heart attack.
The doctor can recommend for a conditional driving license, but the transport agency makes the final decision. Thus, it is important to comply with all the requirements for procuring a driving license after a heart attack.
How to Reduce the Risk Of Another Heart Attack After Starting A Normal Life?
Bringing lifestyle changes is an important step to reduce complications and risks of having another heart attack. Few changes include-
- Diet- A diet which lowers the cholesterol level in blood is very helpful. Patients may be recommended to eat two to four portions of oily fish a week. This is because oily fish contain Omega-3 fatty acid which helps in the reduction of cholesterol level. Patients may also be recommended to eat a Mediterranean style diet. This includes eating more of bread, fruits, vegetables and fish. Consumption of butter and cheese should be avoided as it cumulates in fat content. Vegetable oil such as olive oil may be recommended.
- Consumption of alcohol and smoking- The recommended limits for intake of alcohol 14 units a week. Patients should not exceed the limit if they are really into alcohol. 14 units equal to six pints of average strength beer. Exceeding recommended limits of alcohol increase blood pressure and cholesterol level that in turn increases the risk of heart attack. Binge drinking should be avoided because it is potentially dangerous. In case of smoking, patients will be strongly recommended to quit as soon as possible.
- Weight management and staying physically active- Obesity increases the chance of heart attack. Thus healthy weight is to be maintained with a combination of physical exercise and a proper balanced and calorie-controlled diet. After sufficient recovery from a heart attack, regular physical exercise is recommended for staying fit.