Cardiac Rehab: The Why, The Who, And The How.

Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program to help people who have had a heart attack, heart valve repair, heart transplant, or heart failure, get back to a normal and active life.

Moreover, cardiac rehab reduces the risk of further heart problems. Indeed, a team of specialists creates a protocol that includes exercise training, education, as well as counseling to reduce stress. Rehab teaches how to reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, depression, and diabetes. Additional risk factors such as obesity and smoking are also addressed.


Cardiac Rehab: Goals

cardiac rehab


Cardiac rehab can reduce your risk of death from heart disease and also reduce risk of future heart problems. Both The American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology recommend cardiac rehabilitation programs.


Cardiac Rehab: The Why

Cardiac rehab is an option for people with many forms of heart disease. In particular, you may benefit if your medical history includes:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart failure
  • Peripheral artery disease
  • Chest pain (angina)
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Certain congenital heart diseases
  • Coronary artery bypass surgery
  • Angioplasty and stents
  • Heart or lung transplant
  • Heart valve repair or replacement
  • Pulmonary hypertension

Age is a non-factor and therefore should not hold back from joining a program. hold you back from joining a cardiac rehabilitation program. People of all ages can benefit.


Cardiac Rehab: The Who

The rehab process is a total team effort. Doctors, nurses, pharmacists , plus you and your family, make the lifestyle changes and improve habits that will improve your heart. The program, though, isn’t appropriate for everyone who has had heart disease. Your health care team first evaluates your health, reviews your medical history, and conducts a physical examination to make sure you’re ready to start a rehabilitation program.


Cardiac Rehab: The How

Rehabilitation begins in the hospital and continues for a brief period with monitored programs in an outpatient setting.  Next, you either move to a home-based or a nursing home center maintenance program.  Otherwise, it may start about a week after dismissal from the hospital, such as after a heart attack or angioplasty and stents, but it may start later after heart surgery.

Together you set goals for you heart rehab program. Results are carefully evaluated and changes made as necessary.

Here is an outline of the medical teams rehab goals:

Cardiac Rehab: Goals

The first stages of most programs generally last about three months, but some people may be in programs for a longer period. The team of health care professionals, can include cardiologists, nurse educators, nutrition specialists, exercise specialists, mental health specialists, and physical and occupational therapists.

  Rehab includes the following:
  • Medical evaluation. Your health care team first performs an initial evaluation to check your physical abilities, medical limitations and other conditions you may have. Ongoing evaluations can help your health care team keep track of your progress over time.The team tailors a cardiac rehabilitation program to meet your individual needs, and makes sure it’s safe and effective for you.
  • Physical activity.  Low impact activities that have a lower risk of injury, such as walking, cycling, rowing, jogging and other activities are prescribed. You’ll usually exercise at least three times a week. The actual exercise is preceded and followed by correct warm-up and cool-down techniques.In addition, you may be allowed muscle-strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights or other resistance training exercises, three times a week to increase your muscular fitness.


Cardiac rehab: When You’re Out Of The Gym

  • Lifestyle education. You receive education on making healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating a heart-healthy diet, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, and quitting smoking.
  • Support. Adjusting to a serious health problem often takes time. You may feel depressed or anxious and have to stop working for several weeks.Don’t ignore depression.  Depression can make your cardiac rehab program more difficult, and increase your stress level, which is bad for your heart.

    In addition, counseling services can help you learn healthy ways to cope with depression and other feelings. Antidepressant medication can also help. In addition, vocational or occupational therapy can teach you new skills and help you return to work.



Cardiac rehabilitation can help you rebuild your life, both physically and emotionally. You will get stronger and learn how to manage your condition, armed with new diet and exercise habits.

It’s important to know that your chances of having a successful cardiac rehabilitation program rest largely with you. The more dedicated you are to following your program’s recommendations, the better you’ll do.


Watch these informative videos on cardiac rehab:



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