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How Cardiac Rehabilitation Helps You Recover

If you have a heart attack, heart failure, or other heart problem, cardiac rehabilitation is an important part of your recovery. Cardiac rehabilitation can help prevent another, perhaps more serious, heart attack and can help you build heart-healthy habits.  

About 800,000 people in the United States have a heart attack every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). About one in four of those people already had a heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation not only can help a person recover from a heart problem, but can also prevent future heart problems. Here’s more info about cardiac rehab from the CDC.  

What is cardiac rehabilitation? 

Cardiac rehabilitation is a supervised program that includes physical activity and education about healthy living, including how to eat healthy, take medicine as prescribed, and quit smoking. You might also consider counseling to help relieve stress and improve your mental health.

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 rehabilitation. Studies have found that cardiac rehabilitation helps men and women, people of all ages, and people with mild, moderate, and severe heart problems. 

However, some people are less likely to start or finish a cardiac rehabilitation program: 

  • Studies show that women, especially minority women, are less likely than men to start or complete cardiac rehabilitation. This may be because doctors may be less likely to suggest cardiac rehabilitation to women. 
  • Older adults are also less likely to join a cardiac rehabilitation 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. The need to address other physical conditions makes cardiac rehabilitation especially useful for older adults, since it can improve strength and mobility to make daily tasks easier. 

How does cardiac rehabilitation help? 

Cardiac rehabilitation can have many health benefits 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 such as 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 rehabilitation can help prevent or lessen depression. 
  • Increasing your energy and strength to make daily activities like carrying groceries and climbing stairs easier. 
  • Making you more likely to take your prescribed medicines that help lower your risk for future heart problems. 
  • 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%. 

At CPT, cardiac rehabilitation is among the many services we provide. Please contact us to find out how we can help you on your road to better heart health.