Recovering From Heart Disease

Recovering From Heart Disease

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to help people recovering from heart disease get back on the road to good heart health. Cardiac rehab can speed up your recovery and reduce your chances of future heart problems.

Who needs cardiac rehab?

People of all ages with heart conditions can benefit from a cardiac rehab program. You may benefit if you:

What’s the goal of a rehab program?

The goal of most rehab programs is to help you make healthy changes to your lifestyle, with a strong focus on exercise. You might think this would only be challenging for those who aren’t gym rats. But cardiac rehab can actually be more challenging for women who are accustomed to an active lifestyle but now need to slow down and exercise less strenuously.

What is cardiac rehab like?

Generally, rehab will take place at a hospital with a rehab team or with the help of your doctor, nurse or other health care professionals. Programs are usually designed to provide education and counseling to help patients with heart conditions increase physical fitness, reduce cardiac symptoms and improve health.

A typical cardiac rehab program consists of:

  • Exercise using a treadmill, bike, rowing machine or walking/jogging track.
  • Monitoring for a change in symptoms, heart rate, blood pressure and EKG.
  • A slow progression to activity like strength training that lets you work longer and harder.
  • Counseling and education to help you understand your condition and how to cope with depression, stress and anger.
  • Instruction in creating a healthy eating plan.
  • Other support to help you resume normal activities.

How else does it help me?

Cardiac rehab also provides classes to help people quit smoking, counseling with a registered dietitian or nutritionist, and a wealth of other heart health information that can improve your lifestyle.

How long does cardiac rehab last?

You may need six weeks, six months or longer to learn how to manage your condition and develop healthier habits. Many programs last only three months, but some continue for years.

After completing cardiac rehab, you can try creating your own routine to help you incorporate physical activity and healthy eating in your daily life.