Rehab is certainly popular these days. It’s almost become the vacation destination of choice among some sets. Where else can you go and have the undivided and constant attention of medical personnel, nutritionists, therapists, and exercise gurus all dedicated to improving your physical and emotional health?
If you’ve recently suffered a heart attack or other cardiac event, your doctor may recommend that you send your heart to rehab!
In some respects, cardiac rehabilitation is not much different from our concept of addiction rehabilitation. The cardiac rehab program is medically supervised at all times by a team of cardiac rehab professionals which cover the entire range of health disciplines: exercise, nutrition and diet, heart education, mental health, occupational and physical therapy, nurses and of course, your doctors. The team of doctors may include not only your cardiologist but your personal family physician as well as any other doctors which treat you on a regular basis.
Each program is custom designed to meet your specific cardiac need in order to optimize the program results. One of the ultimate goals of cardiac rehab is to stabilize heart disease progression and in some cases slow, or even stop, heart disease from worsening. Patients who participate in cardiac rehab generally lower their risk of future cardiac events and improve their strength and quality of life. Survivability rates from future cardiac events is also improved for those who successfully participate in cardiac rehab.
Cardiac rehab programs tend to be divided into four main areas in order to maximize the benefit to the patient’s recovery: Medical evaluation, physical activity, lifestyle education (including nutrition counseling), and support (emotional support and counseling). Monitoring in these areas is ongoing and tailored to the unique needs of the individual patient.
Many people with different types of cardiac events may benefit from cardiac rehab including: heart attack, congestive heart failure, angina, peripheral arterial disease, by-pass surgery, heart valve or heart transplant patients, pacemaker patients, coronary artery disease and cardiomyopathy. Cardiac rehab has also proven helpful to some patients with congenital heart diseases. Age is generally not a factor and even older patients (more than 65 years of age) may find cardiac rehabilitation beneficial.
As with any program, cardiac rehab is not for everyone. Each patient must be evaluated on an individual basis to determine if cardiac rehab is the right course of action for them and if it will benefit the patient’s overall health. Much of the success of the program is dependent upon the patient’s commitment and participation. If you’ve suffered some type of cardiac event or have heart disease, give yourself the gift of rehab and ask your doctor to evaluate your suitability for cardiac rehab.
What is Cardiac Rehabilitation, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, August 2009 http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/rehab/rehab_whatis.html
Cardiac Rehabilitation, American Heart Association, http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4490
Cardiac Rehabilitation, The Mayo Clinic, 20 Aug 2009,