If you suffer from a heart condition, or just had heart surgery or a heart attack, you may have heard your doctor mention starting a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehab is a program designed to help people stay healthy and prevent another cardiac event. Cardiac rehab programs are medically supervised exercise and nutrition programs that offer comprehensive support to patients recovering from heart surgery or other heart problems.
Why do I Need Cardiac Rehab?
A question many patients and families have is how long their life expectancy will be following a heart attack. The honest answer is that it depends on the severity of the heart attack, and how long it took the patient to receive treatment. The longer someone goes without seeking medical help, the more heart muscle you lose, which will ultimately take years off your life expectancy.
Damage to the heart after a heart attack is irreversible, and will form scar tissue in place of the damaged muscle. Scar tissue cannot help the heart to function, which forces the remaining healthy muscle to work harder in place of the dead muscle. Your risk of a second heart attack increases after the first one, but cardiac rehab can reduce the risk of another heart problem and prevent any further heart damage.
Anyone diagnosed with the following conditions are eligible for cardiac rehab:
- Suffered a heart attack in the last 12 months
- Coronary bypass surgery
- Current stable angina (chest pain)
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Coronary angioplasty or coronary stent procedure
- Heart or lung transplant
- Stable chronic heart failure
The Benefits of Cardiac Rehab
According to the CDC, cardiac rehab was shown to reduce a patient’s risk of death by 47% in the first five years following a heart attack or bypass surgery. It also and lowered the risk of a second heart attack by 31%. These programs are designed to educate you on living a heart-healthy lifestyle, strengthen your heart, improve your quality of life, and add more years to your life expectancy.
“Cardiac rehab involves personalized exercise plans, risk factor education, and lifestyle management – such as quitting smoking or managing cholesterol levels – that are all clinically proven to reduce your risk of future health complications. From monitoring sleep quality to controlling blood pressure, cardiac rehab will provide valuable guidance on how you can live your best life while taking steps towards ensuring heart health!”
Life After Cardiac Rehab
Once you complete cardiac rehab, you’ll need to continue using the skills and lifestyle modifications learned in the program. The goal of the program is to teach you healthier habits that will decrease your risk of developing another heart condition and improve your health overall.
Catholic Health is proud to offer outpatient cardiac rehabilitation. If you are interested in taking part in our cardiac rehab program, speak with your doctor to see if you are eligible for a referral. To learn more about our cardiac rehab program, call 716-706-2113 today.