Your body has over 600 muscles. What’s the most important? Your heart, which delivers the oxygen and nutrients that sustain the rest of your body. Heart attack, heart disease, and other cardiovascular conditions drastically diminish the heart’s ability to perform this vital task. Cardiac rehabilitation offers patients a way to improve the function and health of their heart, but researchers are finding that patients increasingly skip out on this component of treatment.
Do I Really Need Rehab?
Patients who experience an orthopedic injury know that they’ll need physical therapy as they heal. After all, it takes time to strengthen those weakened muscles and prevent further injury. The same is true for your heart. Whether patients need to recover from a cardiac event or prepare for a transplant, cardiac rehabilitation is an important step in the treatment process. The doctor works with each patient to tailor a rehabilitation program that addresses a wide variety of needs:
· Guidance on heart-healthy nutrition that accounts for the patient’s other nutritional needs
· Assistance with smoking cessation or referrals to community-based programs
· Counseling on the patient’s medical condition, the recovery process, and the proper use of any prescription medications
· Support for returning to work when the time comes
· Supervision for an exercise program, which is structured based on the patient’s individual needs and activity level
Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation
Ultimately the purpose of cardiac rehabilitation is to provide the support that each patient needs to recover fully and improve overall quality of life. Rehabilitation helps patients significantly reduce their risk for cardiovascular complications, by giving them the tools and skills to make healthy lifestyle decisions. Patients who complete their rehabilitation program enjoy multiple health benefits:
- Reduced risk of heart disease or heart attack recurrence
- Decreased risk of other medical conditions that hinge on cardiovascular health, diet and nutrition, and other lifestyle factors (such as Type 2 diabetes or lung cancer)
- Speedier recovery from surgery or other heart treatments
- The potential to slow or even reverse the damage of heart disease
Patients with virtually any cardiac condition can benefit from rehabilitation. It’s generally recommended for patients who have congestive or chronic heart failure, angina pectoris, a heart transplant, bypass surgery, or a pacemaker. It’s also highly recommended for patients who suffer a STEMI, the deadliest form of heart attack, and receive balloon angioplasty (PCTA). Any patient who suffers a cardiac event also usually needs rehabilitation.
If you have questions about cardiac rehabilitation or other cardiovascular care, please contact us at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. Visit us online or call Consult-a-Nurse® at (727) 869-5498 for answers to your questions and free physician referrals.