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What is Cardiac Rehab?
If you’re recovering from a heart attack, heart disease or recent surgery, cardiac rehabilitation may be the right next step for you. Keep reading to learn more about cardiac rehab, what it involves, its benefits and more.
What is Cardiac Rehab
Caring for your heart health might begin with cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehab is an outpatient program that’s customized to fit your needs through a combination of exercise and education.
What Does a Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Look Like?
When you begin cardiac rehab, we’ll help establish a plan tailored to your lifestyle and help you regain strength, provide preventive care, reduce your risk of heart health issues in the future and improve your everyday quality of life. Cardiac rehabilitation will look different for everyone, but it involves five main components.
First, you’ll begin with a medical evaluation to check your physical abilities, limitations and medical conditions. Your care team will personalize an exercise plan to fit your specific needs and to ensure each next step is safe and effective for you. With a combination of low-impact exercises, such as walking, rowing or light jogging, your health care team will teach you techniques to improve your physical health.
- Cardiac Risk Factor Evaluation
Learning your risk factors is important in planning for a healthier future. Your care provider will perform a cardiac risk factor evaluation. They’ll ask about your age, family health history, and lifestyle habits, including your current diet and exercise levels. Your response to these questions is then calculated to determine your future risk of heart disease.
- Heart Health Education
Your care team will help prepare you for a heart-healthy future. You’ll receive lifestyle education and support, such as teaching you how to follow a heart-healthy diet and helping you quit smoking. If you have high blood pressure, diabetes or high cholesterol, your team of experts will also guide you in managing and treating these conditions.
- Diet and Nutrition Counseling
The foods you eat directly impact the course of your health. During cardiac rehab, you’ll learn methods to help implement a heart-healthy diet and discover how your food choices affect your physical improvement. Our skilled nutritionists will work with you to determine a lifestyle you can stick with, and we’ll be right by your side to encourage you on your new health journey.
- Emotional Support
Along with a serious medical condition or recent surgery may also come mixed emotions of anxiousness or depression. With cardiac rehab, you’ll also receive counseling support to check in on your mental health and help you get back to feeling your best.
Am I Eligible for Cardiac Rehab?
Cardiac rehab is a long-term program that varies for each individual’s situation. Some may see results sooner than others, and that’s perfectly OK. Our goal after the program is to see you walk away with the tools and education you need to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Several factors determine if you’re a good fit for our cardiac rehabilitation program, such as:
- You had a heart attack within the past year
- You had heart surgery
- You have angina
- You have chronic stable heart failure (CHF) with an ejection fraction (EF) of less than 36 percent
- You’ve been diagnosed with heart disease and have a prescription for rehabilitation from your physician
- You’ve had an angioplasty with or without a stent
If you are eligible, it’s best to begin cardiac rehabilitation care as soon as possible. Cardiac rehab is one of the best steps you can take toward a healthier life, so don’t delay getting started.
Benefits of Cardiac Rehab
For many cardiac patients, cardiac rehabilitation can be a smart choice to benefit your whole health. Here are four areas of your health that cardiac rehab can improve.
Cardiac Rehab Can Strengthen Your Body
Physical exercise is one important element of cardiac rehabilitation, and in addition to strengthening your heart, it also benefits your entire body. As you get your body moving and begin to recover, you’ll notice changes in your physical capabilities, including stronger muscles and bones and improved breathing.
Cardiac Rehab Lowers Risk of Hospital Admission
Cardiac rehabilitation not only helps you improve your current health but also plays a part in your long-term future. Participating in rehabilitation after a cardiac incident has been shown to help reduce the likelihood of future hospital readmissions relating to cardiac conditions.
Cardiac Rehab Can Help Relieve Symptoms
Strengthening your heart muscles through cardiac rehab benefits your whole body. You may notice an improvement in otherwise lingering symptoms, such as heaviness while breathing or chest pain.
Cardiac Rehab Can Improve Mood and Mental Health
The emotional support you receive through cardiac rehabilitation is just as important as the physical support. Your expert medical team also includes psychologists and counselors who can help you make sense of any uneasy emotions you may be experiencing and find relief.
You can regain control of your life after heart disease and cardiac rehabilitation can help. Stick with your program — even when challenges arise — and you’ll soon see improvements throughout your health.
Choosing A Cardiac Rehab Program With AdventHealth
At AdventHealth Cardiovascular Institute, we are committed to a recovery that strengthens your heart and changes your life. Our skilled specialists provide:
- Ongoing support through heart disease education
- Customized exercise plans
- One-on-one and group counseling
Learn More About Our Cardiac Rehabilitation Program
If cardiac rehab sounds like a program you could benefit from, our experts are here to help you get started. We’ll work with you to monitor your physical improvements and numbers like blood pressure, heart rhythm, pulse and exertion levels. We also provide access to small-group discussions and other support. With our team of certified nurses, physiologists, counselors and dieticians, you’ll have all the tools you need to feel stronger again.