What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Benefits of Cardiac Rehabilitation If you have heart disease, a program of rehabilitation that is supervised by healthcare providers may help you do the following:

  • increase your ability to engage in activity
  • decrease your symptoms, such as chest pain, breathlessness, and fatigue
  • improve your blood cholesterol levels
  • get help to quit smoking, if you smoke
  • reduce stress
  • improve your psychological outlook
  • reduce your risk of death from heart disease

A cardiac rehabilitation program is a program designed to support you. Rehab staff work with you to:

  • improve your diet
  • increase your exercise
  • change other habits that affect your heart

Healthcare providers trained to help you in these areas supervise the program. Cardiac rehab is meant to help you recover faster and return to a full, active life. This is true whether you have had a heart attack or heart surgery. It can also help if you've had another procedure, such as angioplasty.

If you haven't had a heart attack or surgery but you do have heart disease, many cardiac rehab centers have programs that can help you. They'll help you improve your health. They can also help you to avoid more serious events or invasive treatments. These programs can help you feel your best, be healthier, and possibly live longer.

Studies have shown that people who take part in cardiac rehab following a heart attack improve their overall health. They also live longer than those who don't take part in cardiac rehab. Nearly everyone with heart disease can benefit from some type of cardiac rehab. This is true whether young or old, male or female. Some people can achieve the same benefits without a formal program. But others need the support and encouragement of the team approach.

What is cardiac rehab like?

Cardiac rehab is a structured group program. It takes place in a hospital, doctor's office, or community center, such as a YMCA. A typical program meets three times a week for 12 weeks. Healthcare providers will meet with you where the program takes place. If you've been in the hospital for your heart condition, your cardiac rehab program is likely to begin while you're still in the hospital. Your program may last for several weeks to a few months. Regardless of the type of program you choose, you need to continue the changes you make throughout your life.

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