Most heart disease patients need to make improvements to their health if they want to lower their risk of recurring heart problems. Part of making those improvements involves surrounding yourself with a team of health professionals, including doctors, nurses, exercise professionals, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals that can help you identify options to change your health habits.
Cardiac rehabilitation is a professionally supervised program designed to help people recover from heart attacks, heart surgery, and other cardiac procedures like stenting, valve replacement, and angioplasty, or for people that suffer from coronary artery disease, angina, heart failure or have defibrillators and/or pacemakers.
At its core, a cardiac rehabilitation program includes education and counseling services to help patients increase physical fitness and reduce cardiac risks.
After a medical evaluation to evaluate your needs and limits, the cardiac rehabilitation team will custom tailor a physical exercise program to you and your goals. Moving from training in a group where your heart rate and blood pressure are monitored, to working with exercise physiologists, patients will learn to check their own heart rate and level of intensity while performing aerobic activity on a treadmill or a bike and strengthening and flexibility activities.
Counseling and education to help you understand and manage your condition, such as working with a dietician to create a healthy eating plan, support for tobacco cessation, understanding your medications, signs and symptoms to report and how to manage depression, anger or stress, are also a part of many cardiac rehabilitation programs.
Depending on your needs, cardiac rehabilitation could last anywhere from six weeks to six months or longer, but the benefit of regular physical activity and health counseling will last a lifetime.
Central Maine Heart and Vascular Institute has a three-phase cardiac rehabilitation program that serves both inpatients and outpatients, and is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation.
For more information about CMHVI's Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, call 795-8225.