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.
Source: American Heart Association
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.
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