Being diagnosed with heart disease or undergoing heart surgery and then subsequently adopting a number of lifestyle changes is often stressful on the patient. Cardiac rehab will also help the individual to cope better.
For individuals who have suffered a heart attack or any cardiovascular disease, Cardiac Rehabilitation will prove immensely beneficial to improve heart health and function. Like any rehabilitation program Cardiac Rehab is also a lengthy process that needs dedication and commitment for lasting results.
WHO NEEDS CARDIAC REHAB?
A person is considered eligible for the cardiac rehab program if:
THE GOALS OF CARDIAC REHAB
A person who has recently been treated for heart disease, is likely to have been impacted physiologically and psychologically. Heart Disease has a direct impact on the functioning of the heart and even after treatment and resolution of the condition, the heart may still be weak. Cardiac Rehab will help improve heart health. Likewise, heart disease also affects the patient emotionally and it takes a lot of effort from him/her to return to normal life even after a successful surgery. In such cases cardiac rehab will also help the individual to cope better.
The main goals of Cardiac Rehab are:
CARDIAC REHAB PHASES
While it is termed Cardiac Rehabilitation, it is not just a cardiologist with whom the patient will be working with. Based on the patient’s health and heart condition, he/she will be working with an interdisciplinary team of doctors and medical professionals at each stage of the program. The main parts of Cardiac Rehab include Physical Activity, General health evaluation, Lifestyle Education and Emotional Support.
Physical Activity – The patient is encouraged to engage in certain exercise routines to help improve heart function. Starting at the barest minimum, the intensity is gradually increased to strengthen cardiovascular health. The idea is to help the heart recover and not to push it to extreme limits.
Health Evaluation: At every stage of the program, the patient’s progress is monitored. Before he/she is started off on a new exercise regimen, the health care team assesses the patient’s physical readiness. Rehab cannot and should not be rushed.
Lifestyle Education: This involves making healthy lifestyle choices such as switching to a heart-healthy diet, quitting tobacco usage, limiting alcohol intake, and maintaining a healthy body weight. Your doctors will also guide you on what exercises can be done at home. These changes are to be continued life-long. One must also take the medications as prescribed by the doctor and come in for follow-ups diligently.
Emotional Support: Being diagnosed with heart disease or undergoing heart surgery and then subsequently adopting a number of lifestyle changes is often stressful on the patient. The fear factor associated with heart disease is not easily ignorable. The mental stress and anxiety can delay rehab. It is best to have a doctor at hand to help the patient cope with the stress through therapy and medication if necessary.
Depending on where you started and how you progress, the cardiac rehab program can take 6 months or even more. It may seem like a slow process and even difficult at the beginning, but one must understand the long-term benefits and follow the program with patience and commitment. Besides improving heart health, cardiac rehab will set you off on a path of healthy living which will improve the overall quality of your life.
CONSULTANT – CARDIOLOGY
MBBS, MD (MEDICINE), DM (CARDIOLOGY)