Cardiac rehabilitation does not change your heart's past, but it can help you improve your future.
Yet nationally only 20 to 25% of heart patients follow their doctor's recommendation to take advantage of the program, says Tim Maynard, manager of Franciscan Health's cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program in Lafayette.
"Cardiac rehab is the fountain of youth, but people have to come to get their 'drink,'" Maynard said.
Whether you have experienced heart failure, heart attack, angioplasty or heart surgery, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation program can help you improve your cardiovascular health.
What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program to designed to strengthen the heart and body after a heart problem requiring surgery or other medical care. It combines exercise and education about healthy living to help prevent a heart problem from occurring again.
"We're rich in teaching resources - an exercise physiologist, a behavioral specialist for stress management, a dietician, a physician or pharmacist for medication management," Maynard said. "The brilliant work of our cardiologists can be undone in a matter of months at home if the patient does not change unhealthy habits. We don't want that to happen."
Is Cardiac Rehab For You?
If you've been diagnosed with or experienced any of the conditions below, talk with your doctor about how cardiac rehab can improve your health.
- Chest pain or angina
- Stent placement
- Heart attack
- Bypass surgery
- Valve replacement
- Heart failure
What Is Cardiac Rehab Like?
Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised, three-phase program that is based on your needs:
- Phase I: Starts during recovery in the hospital after a heart attack or another heart issue.
- Phase II: A 10-12-week outpatient program, with a physician referral.
- Phase III: Exercise and support to maintain improvements and strength. No physician's referral needed. Available in select locations.
How Long Can A Person Be In Cardiac Rehab?
Often, cardiac rehab programs are designed for sessions three times a week for a three-month period, though they can be extended longer.