If you have been diagnosed with heart disease, you’ve probably been told that you will need to make some changes in your lifestyle to improve your health and well-being. Whether that diagnosis came by way of your routine annual health exam or by means of a cardiac event, cardiac rehabilitation may be your best bet for making those changes quickly and, most importantly, effectively. If you’re asking yourself, “What is cardiac rehab,” then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will explain what cardiac rehab is and how it can benefit individuals who have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Cardiac Rehab Exercises
Cardiac Rehab is a medically supervised program designed to improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery. It helps people recover from cardiac events or heart-related medical procedures and reduces their risk of further heart-related problems in the future. It can also be used to aid in preventing such events and procedures by helping patients control cardiac symptoms and decrease cardiac risk factors.
In the typical cardiac rehabilitation program, patients are carefully evaluated to determine their current health status and level of exercise tolerance. That information is then used by the medical staff to tailor rehabilitation plans to meet their specific needs and limitations. Cardiac rehabilitation programs typically consist of medically monitored physical therapy and progressive exercise. Cardiac rehab exercises typically include low-impact activities that have a lower risk of injury, such as walking, cycling, rowing, jogging, and yoga. But the program doesn’t only involve exercises. According to the Cleveland Clinic, “Exercise is only one part of a cardiac rehab program. It also includes stress management, nutrition counseling, and help managing your chronic conditions.”
Intensive counseling can help to educate patients about their condition and how to manage it and prevent further cardiac episodes. This generally includes nutritional counseling to aid patients in formulating and following a heart-healthy diet, weight-loss counseling to help them reach and or maintain a healthy body weight, lifestyle coaching to help them eliminate harmful habits, stress management counseling, and support to aid patients in handling the emotional impact of their diagnosis, addressing issues like depression and anxiety.
Who Can Benefit from a Cardiac Rehab Program?
Participation in a cardiac rehab program can reduce the risks of death from any cause and from cardiac causes, as well as decrease hospital readmissions. Cardiologists strongly suggest participation for patients who have had a heart attack, heart surgery, such as a bypass procedure or valve replacement, or other interventions, like angioplasty, stenting, or implantation of medical devices, such as a pacemaker or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD). Roger Blumenthal, M.D., a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, says,“One of the best therapies after heart surgery or a heart attack doesn’t come in a pill; it’s actually a structured, supervised exercise and educational program called cardiac rehabilitation.” The key to realizing the benefits of cardiac rehab exercises is perseverance.
Patients who have other heart conditions, such as coronary artery disease, angina, or congestive heart failure, are often referred to cardiac rehab as well. Also, people who have hypertension, peripheral artery disease, or have been diagnosed with multiple cardiac risk factors can benefit greatly from a cardiac rehab program.
What Are the Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation?
You might be wondering how to weigh the risks and benefits of cardiac rehabilitation. In short, there are very few risks and multiple reasons to participate. The potential benefits of cardiac rehabilitation include stronger, healthier cardiovascular function, reduced symptoms and complications from heart disease, and reduction of risk factors that can contribute to heart disease progression. The CDC outlines multiple benefits, including:
- Preventing future illness and death from heart disease. Studies have found that cardiac rehabilitation decreases the chance that you will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by about 35%.
- Improving your mood. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation can help prevent or lessen depression.
- Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain.
In addition, cardiac patients who take advantage of these programs often gain energy, confidence, and a greater sense of well-being as they learn how to manage their disease and its symptoms and improve their health status and fitness levels.
In fact, many patients are in better health after cardiac rehab than they have been in years, with increased strength, endurance, flexibility and balance, a healthier body weight, lower blood pressure and better cholesterol profiles – results that clearly illustrate why you should consider cardiac rehab if you have been diagnosed with heart disease.
Find Cardiac Rehab in Alabama
If you’re wondering where you can find inpatient cardiac rehab near me, we can help. At Rehab Select, we offer a personalized approach to cardiac rehabilitation, with a focus on helping patients meet their goals safely and effectively. Our professionals provide a comprehensive physical and occupational therapy program to ensure you get the most benefit from cardiac rehab exercises. What’s more, our team can help you learn how to manage your heart condition and implement healthy strategies with continued monitoring to be sure you’re on track to long-term recovery and a healthy future.