Cardiac Rehab: Content, Risks & Results

Overview

Cardiac rehab, also called cardiac rehabilitation, is a medically supervised program of exercise and education, which is designed to help people with heart diseases or related surgery, like heart attacks, heart failure, heart valve surgery, coronary artery bypass grafting, or percutaneous coronary intervention.

Cardiac rehab typically includes exercise training, emotional support and education about lifestyle changes. It is usually provided in an outpatient clinic or in a hospital rehab center. A team responsible for it consists of doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians, and mental health providers.

Cardiac rehab is expected to establish an individualized plan which can help you regain strength, preventing your condition from worsening, reducing your risk of future heart problems, and improving your health and quality of life.

 

When you may need cardiac rehab

If you have the following medical history, you may benefit from cardiac rehab:

  • 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

Cardiac rehab applies to people of all ages.

Risks

Cardiac rehab is not always proper to anyone with heart disease. Before starting this program, the health care team will first make an overall evaluation of your health condition, including reviewing your medical history, conducting a physical examination and performing tests

In rare cases, people may get injured during the exercise of cardiac rehab. A small risk of cardiovascular complications also exists. But your health care team will carefully monitor you and offer you help to prevent these from happening.

Cardiac Rehab includes

  • Medical evaluation

To tailor a safe and effective cardiac rehab program for you, an initial evaluation that checks your physical abilities, medical limitations and other conditions you may have will be performed. In particular, risk factors for possible heart complications will be looked at during exercise to guarantee your safety.

  • Physical activity

Your health team will likely recommend low impact activities, such as walking, cycling, rowing, jogging and other activities because they have a lower risk of injury. Usually, you need to exercise at least three times a week. This can improve your cardiovascular fitness. In addition, your muscular fitness can also be increased through muscle-strengthening exercises like lifting weights, two or three times a week.

  • Lifestyle education

In cardiac rehab, you will be taught how to make lifestyle changes such as having a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Your health care team will also give you guidance about managing conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.

  • Support

Patients’ mental illness can’t be ignored as well. Due to the influence on your work, family and others caused by disease, you may feel depressed or anxious easily. Doctors of cardiac rehab can provide you with help on mental support.

Cardiac Rehab can improve both your physical and mental condition. How effectively it works largely depend on you. The more dedicated you are to this program, the more improvement you will achieve.

After cardiac rehab

What you do after cardiac rehab is equally important. Even after the program, you ought to keep doing what is beneficial to your health. The ultimate purpose of the program is to teach live healthily without others’ guidance.

Results

If regular exercise and good lifestyles have become your lifelong habits, you may:

  • Gain strength
  • Learn heart-healthy behaviors, such as regular exercise and a heart-healthy diet
  • Cut bad habits, such as smoking
  • Manage your weight
  • Find ways to manage stress
  • Learn how to cope with heart disease
  • Decrease your risk of coronary artery disease and other heart conditions

Keyword: Cardiac rehab

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.