Cardiac rehab, also called cardiac rehabilitation, is a program that is overseen by doctors and includes exercise, support, counseling, and education. This all-around program helps you get better after a heart attack or other problems with your heart. It has a lot of benefits that can make your life and health better.
What is heart rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehab (cardiac rehabilitation) is a therapy that helps people get better after surgery or medical treatment for a heart problem, like a heart attack. It includes prescribed exercise training, changes to cardiac risk factors, education about heart health, diet and nutrition counseling, and psychosocial support.
During your personalized center-based cardiac rehab program, which usually lasts at least three months, health care providers like doctors, nurses, clinical exercise physiologists, counselors, and dietitians help and guide you. Cardiac rehab can help you no matter how old you are, what gender you are, or how big or small your heart problem was.
There are three parts to heart rehab
Cardiac rehab starts before you leave the hospital and should go on for a long time.
Who needs heart rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehab is important for people who have had any kind of heart problem, like:
Why is heart rehabilitation done?
Cardiac rehab helps people who have had a heart attack or other heart problems get better by giving them a personalized plan for improving their health in a safe way and finding and dealing with other risk factors. Having a heart attack or other heart problem can also make you feel scared and sad. In cardiac rehabilitation, the importance of mental health and quality of life are stressed. It helps with every part of rehab, so you don't have to do it alone to reach your goals.
How common is heart rehabilitation?
About 800,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack every year. 25% of them have done this before. Cardiac rehab can help prevent a second heart attack and lower the chance of dying in one to three years after a person finishes the program. However, only 20–30% of those who are eligible sign up for a cardiac rehab program each year.
People with the above heart conditions get the strongest support for cardiac rehab from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.
Where is heart rehabilitation done?
During your time in the hospital, you will start the first part of your cardiac rehab. Most of the time, your doctor will tell you to go to an outpatient facility for cardiac rehab soon after you leave the hospital. Rehab centers also offer cardiac rehab programs, in addition to hospitals. You might also be able to do cardiac rehab at home, but you should check with your insurance company to see if they cover it.
How to choose a cardiac rehab program
When looking at cardiac rehab programs, you should ask if they:
What happens when you sign up for cardiac rehabilitation?
Before making a program just for you, the people who work at the cardiac rehab center will give you a quick physical exam and write down your medical history. They may also ask you to take some simple tests, such as:
Your cardiac rehab staff will review and evaluate your risk factors for heart disease with the help of a doctor. They will also help you make a personalized treatment plan to help you through your program. This will include finding safe and effective target training zones for your exercise training and setting heart-healthy goals for you to reach while in the program and in the long run.
What goes on during heart rehabilitation?
Working in a group, the cardiac rehab staff will watch you in the gym as you start out slowly in the training zones that your doctor has given you. As you do more sessions and build up your confidence and stamina, the staff will help you gradually move forward by making your workouts harder or longer, depending on your fitness level and medical history. They'll also keep an eye on your heart rate and blood pressure to make sure you're safe while you work out.
Cardiac rehab exercises
Depending on your fitness level and risk factors when you start cardiac rehabilitation, the exercises you do may vary, but they could include:
Other parts of cardiac rehabilitation
Also, you'll get help with:
What comes next after heart rehab?
As part of the last part of your program, the staff may ask you to do another exercise stress test after your last session of cardiac rehab. This is done to:
Even though you "graduated" from center-based cardiac rehab, you should feel comfortable continuing to exercise the way you did in cardiac rehab, but on your own. You'll also get more heart health benefits from regular exercise if you keep using what you've learned about controlling your heart disease risk factors, dealing with stress, cooking heart-healthy meals, and staying away from tobacco products. You can use these things for the rest of your life.
What are the benefits of heart rehabilitation?
Studies have shown that going through a cardiac rehab program can add up to five years to your life expectancy. Rehabilitating your heart is helpful in many ways. It can:
What is the time to get better?
Most insurance companies, including Medicare, cover a 12-week cardiac rehabilitation program with 36 sessions. That's three sessions of an hour each, once a week.
When do I need to see my primary care doctor?
You can talk to the person in charge of your cardiac rehab program about problems, but you can also talk to your regular primary care provider if you can't do what the program asks. Be sure to keep all of your follow-up appointments with the other providers on your care team. This is in addition to going to cardiac rehab regularly.
Message from the BSH Care
If you join a cardiac rehab program, a whole group of people will help you get better after a heart attack or other heart problem. Studies show that cardiac rehab has many benefits, such as giving people more years of life and a better quality of life. With doctors watching you every step of the way, you can get stronger in just a few months and learn skills that will help you in your everyday life.