A cardiac rehabilitation program is a recovery plan that helps you regain control of your health faster. Your physician may recommend a cardiac rehab program following a diagnosis of heart failure or heart attack, or after a procedure such as heart surgery or angioplasty.
What is Cardiac Rehab?
Cardiac rehabilitation, or cardiac rehab, is a personalized 12-week outpatient program that consists mainly of heart health education and exercise, designed to help you improve the condition of your heart and reduce the risk of a potential heart attack. It involves a structured exercise program, information about how to manage your current situation, education about your heart and certain risk factors, and a comprehensive treatment plan to help prevent future heart problems.
According to the American Heart Association, this simple program, if done diligently, can reduce the mortality rate by more than 50 percent. It cannot change what happened to you in the past, but it can significantly help improve your heart’s future and your life in general.
What is Involved in Cardiac Rehab?
There are three components in a cardiac rehab program:
- Counseling to help reduce stress – it is common knowledge that stress can significantly impact your overall health. In general, stress hurts your heart. Counseling will help you to identify stress factors and manage them accordingly.
- Exercise training and counseling – a healthy lifestyle is essential for your overall well-being. Exercise gets your entire cardiovascular system working and your heart pumping. Through cardiac rehab, you’ll learn how to keep your body active in ways that can help boost heart health.
- Education for a heart-healthy living – educating yourself about healthy living is a vital factor in making sure you have a healthy heart. How can you manage certain risk factors? What lifestyle changes do you need to do to ensure that your heart remains healthy?
Who Can Benefit from Cardiac Rehab?
People with any form of heart disease can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation programs. This applies to those whose medical history includes:
- Pulmonary hypertension
- Peripheral artery disease
- Certain congenital heart diseases
- Angioplasty and stents
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart attack and heart failure
- Chest pain (angina)
- Heart valve repair or replacement
- Heart or lung transplant
Phases of Cardiac Rehabilitation
When you go through cardiac rehab, cardiac therapists will assist and guide you through the program and closely monitor your progress. There are three phases involved in cardiac rehab:
- Inpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation, which takes place while you are still at the hospital. Your health-care provider and cardiac therapist will work hand-in-hand with you and recommend an exercise program and other activities.
- Outpatient Cardiac Rehabilitation, which is a continued rehabilitation program after you have been discharged from the hospital. This program is fully-monitored and designed to help you safely build your tolerance for various activities and enhance your heart’s strength, allowing you to return to your daily tasks.
- Long-term Maintenance Cardiac Rehabilitation, which is done after completion of the outpatient program. To maintain good heart health, it is important to continue with other programs that promote physical fitness, cardiovascular health, and a healthy lifestyle.
Benefits of Cardiac Rehab
Through cardiac rehab, you can take the first few steps towards not only a healthier heart, but a healthier lifestyle in general. Through this program, you can:
- Reduce the risk factors of heart disease
- Increase your physical activity level, improve your heart’s functional capacity, and enhance your cardiovascular fitness
- Learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce the risk of a future cardiac event
- Manage your weight better
- Recover and return to your day-to-day tasks faster
The most valuable benefit cardiac rehab can offer you is an improvement on your overall quality of life. If you are consistent and diligent with the program, you will come out of it feeling healthier than you’ve ever been before. Get in touch with our doctors in New Jersey to learn more about which program would be the most beneficial for you.