Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death among men and women in the United States. Most will survive their first heart attack and return to normal life, but certain lifestyle changes must be made to lessen the risk of suffering additional attacks. Chances of surviving a heart attack decrease after a first attack, making cardiac rehabilitation vital.
Below are a few facts about cardiac rehabilitation and its importance in the lives of heart attack survivors.
Professionally Supervised Program
Cardiac rehabilitation is a professionally supervised program designed to assist patients recovering from heart surgery, heart attacks, and percutaneous coronary intervention procedures (e.g., stenting and angioplasty).
A study found that cardiac-related deaths, second heart attacks, and cardiac surgeries are less likely for patients participating in cardiac rehabilitation. These programs assist in changing patients’ lifestyle habits with the guidance of a team consisting of doctors, nurses and dietitians.
A cardiac rehabilitation program usually has several interrelated components that make it possible for participants to carry out their lifestyle habits in the comfort of their homes. These programs may include the following:
- A medical evaluation wherein your needs and wants as well as limitations are determined in accordance with your physical condition and fitness goals.
- A personalized physical activity program where you will work with an exercise physiologist or physical therapist. You may also first start training in a group while learning how to check your heart rate and intensity of activity. Intensity will increase as your physical condition improves.
- A counselling and education program designed to help patients understand their condition including its management. You will be taught to create a healthy eating plan, lifestyle habits, and exercise program.
- A support and training component that will help you return to your normal activities including work.
Patients should avoid rushing through their cardiac rehabilitation program. Each individual has different recovery times and reactions. Programs may take anywhere from six weeks to six months to complete. Adopting a lifetime approach to healthy diet, exercise and lifestyle habits will help patients improve their condition and general health over time.
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