How Cardiac Rehabilitation Can Help Heal Your Heart

If you have a heart attack or other heart problem, cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is an important part of your recovery. Cardiac rehab can help prevent another, perhaps more serious, heart attack and can help you build heart-healthy habits. Learn more about who needs cardiac rehab and how it can help your recovery.

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehab is a program for someone recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem that required surgery or medical care.

Cardiac rehab is a supervised program that includes physical activity, education about healthy living, including healthy eating, and counseling to find ways to relieve stress and improve mental health.  You may seek assistance from your health care team, which includes exercise and nutrition specialists, physical therapists, and counselors or mental health professionals.  These may be in hospital or in-home services depending on the patients needs.

Who needs cardiac rehabilitation?

Anyone who has had a heart problem, such as a heart attack, heart failure, or heart surgery, can benefit from cardiac rehab. Studies have found that cardiac rehab helps men and women, people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems.

But certain people are less likely to go to or finish a cardiac rehab program. These include:

  • Women. Studies show that women, especially minority women, are less likely than men to go to or complete a cardiac rehab program.  This may be because doctors may be less likely to suggest cardiac rehab to women.
  • Older adults. Older adults are also less likely to join a cardiac rehab program following a heart problem.  They may think they are unable to do the physical activity because of their age, or they may have other conditions that can make exercising harder, such as arthritis. This makes cardiac rehabilitation especially useful for older adults, since it can improve strength and mobility to help make daily tasks easier.

One of the benefits of cardiac rehab is building healthier habits, such as finding a physical activity that you enjoy, to help you stay heart-healthy for life.

How does cardiac rehab help?

Cardiac rehabilitation has many benefits to your health in both the short and long-term, including:

  • Strengthening your heart and body after a heart attack.
  • Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain.
  • Building healthier habits, including getting more physical activity, quitting smoking, and eating a heart-healthy diet. A nutritionist or dietitian may work with you to help you limit foods with unhealthy fats and eat more fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Reducing stress.
  • Improving your mood. People are more likely to feel depressed after a heart attack. Cardiac rehab can help prevent and lessen depression.
  • Increasing your energy and strength, making daily activities easier, such as carrying groceries and climbing stairs.
  • Making you more likely to take your prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems.
  • Preventing future heart problems and death. Studies have found that cardiac rehab decreases the chances you will die in the five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery by around 20% to 30%

Where can I get the care needed?

Some programs are done in a hospital or rehabilitation center, while some programs can be done in the patient’s home. Cardiac rehab may start while you are still in the hospital or right after you leave the hospital.

Cardiac rehab programs usually last about three months but can range anywhere from two to eight months.  If you or a loved one in South Florida need in home care please call Home Care One.

Source: CDC

Posted on: July 14, 2017