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Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was admitted to the Cardiothoracic Centre of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, after complaining of chest pain and developing a slight fever on 10 May. Spokespersons from the Congress party said on 11 May that Singh was stable and had perhaps had a bad reaction to a new medication.

Singh has had two coronary bypass surgeries in the past. The last one, in 2009, included five bypasses. Coronary bypass surgery is done to restore adequate blood flow to the heart, in cases where the major blood vessels of the heart get blocked. Recovery after the surgery is a long-term process which requires changes to lifestyle. 

Dr Ramakanta Panda, who conducted the 2009 bypass surgery, remarked afterwards that Singh has been living a healthy life and following medical advice very closely. Dr Panda called him a good patient, suggesting that a healthy lifestyle goes a long way in maintaining good cardiac health - even after a major operation.

If you or a loved one has had this surgery, keep in mind that positive changes with respect to diet, exercise and healthcare will have a huge bearing on the quality of your life going forward. Here are some tips on how to live a healthy life after coronary bypass surgery. 

1. Take all prescribed medicines regularly and on time 

Dr. Panda indicated that Manmohan Singh is a good patient because he follows medical advice very closely. You, too, will be prescribed a range of medications and a detailed plan depending on your condition. Commonly, blood clotting drugs, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors and nitrates are prescribed. Make sure you take your medicines on time, and in the right dosage. Let your doctor know immediately if any new medication makes you uneasy - chances are, your doctor will be able to recommend a slightly different drug that might suit you better.

2. Quit smoking

Smoking directly impacts the functioning of the heart and can cause severe cardiac symptoms. You can discuss a rehabilitation programme with your doctor that can help you give up smoking. Support groups and therapies that use multiple approaches can be beneficial.

3. Exercise as recommended by your doctor 

You will likely take some months to fully recover from surgery, but it is important to remain active. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor will recommend exercises after heart bypass surgery that will gradually increase in duration and intensity. 

4. Maintain a healthy diet 

Eating right is crucial for overall heart health. The aim of a healthy diet for the heart is to reduce weight and lower blood cholesterol levels. Generally, this includes substituting processed, sugary foods, fatty foods, rich meats, cream and cheese with lean meats, seafood, lentils, vegetables, fruits and pulses. You will likely be assigned to a dietician who will advise you on planning meals and choosing a diet that is agreeable to you.

Read more: Foods to reduce and control high cholesterol

5. Manage any comorbidities

Diabetes and high blood pressure are very common co-morbidities with heart disease; meaning that many people have heart disease along with one or both these conditions. These comorbidities can complicate health outcomes for cardiac patients. If you have any of these conditions, it is crucial that you take your regular medication for these as well. Further, exercising regularly and following a healthy diet also go a long way in keeping diabetes and blood pressure under control.

Read more: Exercises for diabetics 

6. Manage stress

Having major cardiac surgery is a stressful experience for you and your family. It is normal to feel overwhelmed and depressed during these uncertain and difficult times. Seek professional help if you are feeling anxious. It is also important to keep your friends and family close; a strong support system goes a long way in improving health outcomes by keeping stress levels in check. 

  1. Doctors for 6 tips for healthy living after a bypass surgery
Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal

Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal

Cardiology
15 Years of Experience

Dr. Vinod Somani

Dr. Vinod Somani

Cardiology
27 Years of Experience

Dr. Vinayak Aggarwal

Dr. Vinayak Aggarwal

Cardiology
27 Years of Experience

Dr. Vijay Kumar Chopra

Dr. Vijay Kumar Chopra

Cardiology
47 Years of Experience

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References

  1. Economic Times[Internet]. Times Internet; Flashback: When ex-PM Manmohan Singh underwent a redo cardiac surgery in 2009
  2. NHS [Internet]. National Health Services; Recovery - Coronary artery bypass graft
  3. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). Rochester, MN; Coronary bypass surgery
  4. Up to Date [Internet]. Wolters Kluwer; Patient education: Recovery after coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) (Beyond the Basics)
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