You’ve just suffered a significant cardiac event. Your doctor says you’re going to survive, but you’re not sure what to do from here. You know things will have to change, which means it’s time for you to consider cardiac rehabilitation.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to improve your cardiovascular health. You’re a prime candidate, regardless of age, if you have a heart condition or have experienced a traumatic event, including:
To celebrate “National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week,” and draw attention to the role cardiac rehabilitation plays in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease, let's take a look at how it may help you.
Once you get a referral from your doctor to begin cardiac rehabilitation, an individualized plan will be created for you. Your program will be tailored to the type of cardiac episode you’ve experienced.
The process begins with a physical exam, which will include heart tests such as ECGs. The results of these tests are used to determine several things, including:
The results are used as a way to measure your progress throughout the program.
Think of cardiac rehabilitation like this: It’s like having a team of people as your own personal coaches and cheerleaders to help you develop a healthy lifestyle and make it a priority.
The components of cardiac rehabilitation include:
Everyone is different, so what’s right for someone else, may not be right for you. That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor to come up with a plan that suits your needs.
The team of medical professionals you will see during your cardiac rehab program includes:
Your cardiac rehab team is always available to answer your questions and help you through each part of the process. You will also need a team of people around you who understand what you’re going through.
Tell your family, friends and your employer that your heart problem is a wake-up call. If you want to get back to your regular responsibilities, make cardiac rehab your top priority. The American Heart Association also has a support network you can use.
The ultimate goal of cardiac rehabilitation is to create a healthier you. You will look and feel much better in the end because cardiac rehab can help:
As you make the journey toward better heart health, you will not only see the benefits, you’ll feel them. Even if you feel like you’ve only suffered a minor setback, take the first step to getting your life back by talking to your doctor about developing a cardiac rehabilitation program that’s right for you.
And if you’d like more information on heart disease, check out our guide “Heart Disease Facts.” In it, you’ll find the telltale signs that something is wrong with your heart and the risk factors that should matter most to you.