How can I keep my father from overexerting himself after his heart attack?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 07, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...
My father had a heart attack two weeks ago, and he's in total denial. He insists that he can play tennis, even though he's not supposed to overexert himself. How can I make sure he follows his doctor's recommendations?

Expert Answers

Barry M. Massie is chief of cardiology at the San Francisco V.A. Medical Center.

This is a difficult problem that often causes real conflicts. The best approach would be for the two of you to visit his physician together so that you can discuss what levels of activity are appropriate.

It's important to understand that inactivity is as bad as overactivity. Cardiac rehabilitation programs are an excellent way to progressively increase your father's level of activity with supervision and guidance. Such a program might also help you and other family members learn what's appropriate so that you can get over the fear that your father will have another heart attack.

There are many sources of information available through your physician's office, as well as through organizations such as the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA also offers patient support groups that your father might find helpful.