What is meant by Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation also called cardiac rehab, is a medically supervised program for people who have had a heart attack, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, or percutaneous coronary intervention. Cardiac rehabilitation is designed to help you improve your health and help you recover from a heart attack, other forms of heart disease, or surgery to treat heart disease.
Cardiac rehab involves adopting heart-healthy lifestyle changes to address risk factors for cardiovascular disease. To help you adopt lifestyle changes, this program includes exercise training, education on heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help you return to an active life. Cardiac rehab can improve your health and quality of life, reduce the need for medicines to treat heart or chest pain, decrease the chance you will go back to a hospital or emergency room for a heart problem, prevent future heart problems, and even help you live longer.
Cardiac rehab is provided in an outpatient clinic or in a hospital rehab center. The cardiac rehab team includes doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians or nutritionists, and mental health specialists. Sometimes a case manager will help track your care. Your cardiac rehab team will design a program to meet your needs. Before starting your program, the rehab team will take your medical history, do a physical exam, and perform tests. Possible tests include an electrocardiogram (EKG), cardiac imaging tests, and a treadmill or stationary bike exercise test. You also may have tests to measure your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. During cardiac rehab, you will learn to exercise safely and increase your physical activity. The length of time that you spend in cardiac rehab depends on your condition. Medicare and most insurance plans cover a standard cardiac rehab program that includes 36 supervised sessions over 12 weeks.
Prevention of heart diseases
Regular, daily physical activity can lower your risk of heart disease. Physical activity helps you control your weight and reduce your chances of developing other conditions that may put a strain on your heart, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
If you haven’t been active for a while, you may need to slowly work your way up to these goals, but in general, you should aim for at least:
150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as walking at a brisk pace
75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running
Two or more strength training sessions a week
Even shorter bouts of activity offer heart benefits, so if you can’t meet those guidelines, don’t give up. Just five minutes of moving can help, and activities such as gardening, housekeeping, taking the stairs and walking the dog all count toward your total. You don’t have to exercise strenuously to achieve benefits, but you can see bigger benefits by increasing the intensity, duration and frequency of your workouts.