Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, yet many people who have had heart attacks never start or continue their cardiac rehabilitation.
What does cardiac rehab involve?
Cardiac rehabilitation doesn’t change your past, but it can help you improve your heart’s future.
Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program designed to improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. Cardiac rehab has three equally important parts:
- Exercise counseling and training: Exercise gets your heart pumping and your entire cardiovascular system working. You’ll learn how to get your body moving in ways that promote heart health.
- Education for heart-healthy living: A key element of cardiac rehab is educating yourself: How can you manage your risk factors? Quit smoking? Make heart-healthy nutrition choices?
- Counseling to reduce stress: Stress hurts your heart. This part of cardiac rehab helps you identify and tackle everyday sources of stress.
Cardiac rehab is a team effort
You don’t need to face heart disease alone. Cardiac rehab is a team effort.
You’ll partner with doctors, nurses, pharmacists – plus family and friends – to take charge of the choices, lifestyle and habits that affect your heart.
Here’s how to get going and make the most of cardiac rehab:
- Ask your doctor if you are eligible.
- If you are, register for a cardiac rehab program.
- In consultation with your medical team, set goals for your heart health.
- Work together to create a cardiac rehab plan.
- Take an active role in your care to achieve your goals.
- Keep taking your medicines correctly.
- Call 911 if you experience new or worsening symptoms.
Source: American Heart Association
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