How to heal a broken heart
An average of 785,000 Americans will suffer from a heart attack by the end of this year, according to The American Heart Association. Even more alarming, of those people, 470,000 on average will have a recurrent heart attack within five years of their first episode.
Yet, patients who have begun cardiac rehabilitation after their first heart attack have a significant decrease of reoccurring risk. Cardiac rehabilitation is a program that allows patients to improve their heart health with the help of medical professionals in order to increase their chances of recovery. However, on average, less than one-third of patients who have previously had a heart attack decided to join a cardiac rehabilitation program. Cardiac rehabilitation has been proven to help patients heal faster and even allow them to live longer, according to one study.
“Cardiac rehabilitation is an invaluable tool for patients after a cardiac event, which assists them with therapeutic lifestyle changes such as heart health eating, supervised exercise and weight loss that will improve their overall cardiovascular health and well-being,” says Dr. James W. McCriskin, a cardiologist at the Advocate Heart Institute at BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill.
Cardiac rehabilitation can involve different objectives which all focus on the health of a patient. According to the Mayo Clinic, there are four main aspects of cardiac rehabilitation:
- Medical evaluation: This is used to get a baseline of where a patient’s health is during the beginning of treatment to track progress along the way.
- Educating the patient about healthy lifestyle choices: Involves advice and tips on how to improve eating habits aimed to cut down fat, sodium and cholesterol.
- Improving a patient’s cardiovascular fitness: Learning new exercises that are targeted. There are many exercises that can improve cardiac fitness such as walking, cycling, running and strength training.
- The support: Accommodating to a new lifestyle isn’t easy for individuals who undergo a serious health obstacle, but having a team of professionals helping you along the way can make for an easier transition.
Cardiac rehabilitation is designed to help the immediate to long-term needs of patients who have experienced heart attack, heart surgery or other cardiac event, and each plan is created to focus on a patient’s unique needs. Returning to normal life after a heart attack is not easy, but programs, like BroMenn’s Heart Care and Rehab, can help patients recover faster and live longer.
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health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care sites, also including freelance or intern writers.