Cardiac rehabilitation, also known as “cardiac rehab,” is a program that helps people recover from heart disease. People who follow a cardiac rehabilitation program feel better, live longer and lead healthier lives. Cardiac rehab is helpful for patients who have had:
- a heart attack or other forms of heart disease
- bypass or other heart surgery or
- a heart transplant
What does Cardiac Rehab Involve?
Cardiac rehab programs focus on exercise, education, counseling and behavior change:
- Exercise is usually in a group setting, but meets each patient’s specific need
- Education focuses on managing heart disease, meeting dietary goals, and following a treatment plan
- Counseling identifies high-risk behaviors
- Behavior change skills help patients adopt low-risk, healthy behaviors
Cardiac rehab programs are vital for recovery. Patients usually start the program in the hospital and continue as an outpatient. Rehab may last for several weeks or months. Doctors, nurses, therapists, and other specialists make up the rehab team. It is very important to follow instructions, ask questions, and report any symptoms you may have. Be sure to check with your insurance company before starting a cardiac rehab program to find out what benefits you have available.
For more heart health information, contact your local chapter of the American Heart Association or visit its website at www.americanheart.org. For support group information, call Mended Hearts, Inc. at (888) 432-7899 or visit the website at www.mendedhearts.org.