By Stephanie Kittleson
Mercyhealth Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation Manager
Cardiac rehabilitation doesn’t change your past, but it can help you improve your heart’s future. Secondary prevention is what it is all about in cardiac rehab.
Cardiac rehab is a supervised exercise program that also provides education about nutrition, medications, stress management, and living a heart healthy lifestyle. It is a place where patients will find support and reassurance. It is a place where confidence in one’s physical abilities will be restored.
A typical rehab session includes exercise and education. Blood pressure, heart rate, symptoms and heart rhythm are monitored during the session. Expert staff ensure the exercise is both safe and effective and help guide patients to reaching their goals.
As noted above, secondary prevention is the primary goal of cardiac rehab, meaning the rehab staff work with patients to help lower the risk of future heart problems or related death. According to studies, people who go to cardiac rehab have up to 30 percent fewer fatal heart events and are 25 percent less likely to die compared with people who get standard therapy alone. They also have more success in controlling their cardiovascular risk factors (for example, high blood pressure or cholesterol). Other benefits include weight loss, stress reduction and greater emotional well-being, and decreased chances of future hospital admissions.
Who should take part in cardiac rehab? People with a range of heart problems can benefit from cardiac rehab. It’s often recommended for people who have or have had:
- A recent heart attack
- Chest pain, also called angina
- Heart failure
- Heart procedures such as percutaneous coronary interventions, with includes angioplasty or cardiac stenting
- Heart surgery such as coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve repair or replacement
- Heart or heart-lung transplant
It can be scary learning that you have a heart condition. Oftentimes there is a lot of new “stuff” to learn. The people who work in cardiac rehab will help you learn all that “stuff”. Step by step they will support you in the process of improving your health and well-being. Fair warning: It’s not always easy and it’s not always fun. But every little step taken will move you closer to feeling better, becoming stronger, and improving the health of your heart and cardiovascular system.
Mercyhealth is now offering virtual cardiac rehab options at:
- Mercyhealth Cardiac Rehabilitation Center-Harvard
- Mercyhealth Cardiac Rehabilitation Center–Janesville
- Mercyhealth Cardiac Rehabilitation Center–Walworth