Cardiac rehabilitation is a customized and medically supervised program of exercise and education, designed to help patients recuperate from a heart attack, and other forms of heart disease or heart surgery. The focus of this program is help individuals regain strength, resume regular activities, reduce the risk of future heart-related problems and improve their health and quality of life.
Cardiac rehabilitation is customized for each individual, and varies depending on the specific disease and condition of patient. The rehabilitation program is often divided into phases that may include:
- Monitored exercise
- Nutritional counseling
- Emotional support
- Lifestyle changes
- Reducing the risk of heart problems
The customized program helps patients return to a normal, active lifestyle with supervised training and activities. Cardiac rehabilitation programs often begin while patients are still in the hospital and continue in outpatient settings and at home. They are customized by a team of medical professionals to help patients gradually increase their level of physical activity. This often begins with sitting up in a chair and taking a few steps, before being increased to daily walks and other basic exercises. The gradual increase helps patients safely build strength to keep the heart healthy and prevent future damage.
Individuals receive ongoing medical evaluations during cardiac rehabilitation to monitor their progress and ensure that the program is safe and effective. Patients are encouraged to exercise regularly and as their health improves, the amount of exercise should increase. A healthy diet plan that manages weight, cholesterol levels, blood pressure and other health-related conditions is created for each individual. Counseling and support groups may also be introduced to help individuals deal with issues of depression, anxiety and stress.
The success of a cardiac rehabilitation program depends on the long-term commitment of the patient. Rehabilitation requires a healthy diet, regular exercise and a positive attitude. Individuals must implement healthy changes into their daily activities in order to maintain a healthy and active life and prevent future heart problems.