What to Expect with Cardiac Rehabilitation
The cardiac rehab program aims to improve all aspects of your health so you can enjoy improved well-being and quality of life. This program was developed for post-cardiac surgery individuals, as well as those who have serious heart diseases. While exercise is an essential part of recovering from heart surgery, it is just one of many components that is emphasized in the program.
While in the cardiac rehab program, you receive recipes to improve your heart health through diet, a supervised program for physical activity, and much more. Here are the nine unique components to help you achieve the best possible results:
This includes a 90-minute evaluation during the first appointment. The team evaluates your entire health history to help understand how it relates to the present heart condition. The cardiologist will also review medications and ask if there are any special concerns.
It’s essential to reduce bad cholesterol after a heart attack to prevent a future recurrence due to blocked arteries. The program emphasizes a diet high in fruits and vegetables, whole grains, limited red meat, and avoidance of trans fat and processed foods.
Extra weight puts stress on your heart that can make your recovery more challenging. The team will assist with preparing a diet and establishing a plan to get regular exercise. If you are overweight or obese, you can start by setting small goals. This will give a great sense of accomplishment as you meet one goal and set another.
Blood Pressure Management
High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for a cardiac event. Eating healthy, losing weight, exercising regularly, and reducing stress can all help lower your blood pressure. When this isn’t enough, the team may prescribe blood pressure medication for the first time or adjust the dosage of a current prescription.
Lipids are molecules in your body containing fatty acids and their various derivatives, as well as cholesterol. Lipid and blood pressure management often go together in a cardiac rehab program as both are essential for recovery and to reduce future risk.
Having diabetes on top of heart issues can be especially challenging. The team will assist with gaining good control of your diabetes through diet, exercise, and medication, if necessary.
According to the American Heart Association, smokers have a heart disease risk two to four times greater than non-smokers. The team realizes tobacco is addictive and quitting smoking is hard and will assist with creating a quit plan. The team can also refer you to an official smoking cessation program if needed.
Having a serious heart condition can bring about depression, anxiety, and a host of other strong emotions. Post-traumatic stress can also develop after a heart event. The team works with you to identify emotional triggers and create a plan for addressing them in a healthy way. Sometimes just talking about difficulties can help.
Physical Activity Counseling
Regular physical activity has enormous benefits for your body, including reduced blood pressure, mood stabilization, and weight loss. The team will create an increasingly challenging plan to help your body work to its full capacity.
Who is a Good Candidate for Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation is appropriate if you:
- Have had a heart attack in the last 12 months
- Have had a cardiac stent placed
- Have had open heart surgery
- Have had a valve repair or replacement
- Have had a heart or heart-lung transplant
- Have current stable angina
- Have heart failure with an ejection fraction of 35% or less
Working through cardiac rehabilitation can lead to a number of benefits:
- Improved knowledge about how to manage your heart disease
- Better ability to meet your daily responsibilities
- Reduced risk of future heart problems
- Better life quality, stability, and outlook
If you’re interested in enrolling, call the cardiology department at 240-964-1550 or talk to your provider.