How Can Cardiac Rehabilitation Help Your Heart?
If you are a heart patient, participating in a cardiac rehabilitation
program can be a powerful way to take control of your heart disease and
get on track to regain strength and live a longer, healthier life.
Cardiac rehabilitation can help your healing process through a
combination of physical activity, nutrition counseling, education and
How Did You Get Here?
You may be eligible for cardiac rehab if you have experienced heart
disease or had heart-related procedures of any kind, including:
Angina (chest pain)
Heart or heart/lung transplant
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
Certain congenital heart diseases
No matter what condition brings you to cardiac rehab, learning how it
developed and how it may progress can help you achieve your treatment
If high cholesterol is a factor contributing to your coronary artery
disease, you may learn about ways to lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol and
boost HDL ("good") cholesterol. You may begin a medically supervised
exercise routine through the cardiac rehab program and meet with a
nutrition counselor to manage your cholesterol. At completion of the
program, you'll be armed with the tools you need to continue a
heart-healthy lifestyle on your own.
If your heart is weak from a heart attack or congestive heart failure,
you may be wary of physically exerting yourself. A cardiac rehab program
provides a safe environment for you to exercise under close medical
supervision. Each patient is different, and your physician will
determine whether or not you could benefit from the program.
Stages of Rehabilitation
For many patients, the recovery process includes three stages.
Stage I of the program begins right in your hospital room.
Patients hospitalized with serious heart conditions often begin with
simple, non-tiring exercises. When you have enough strength, you may
feel like taking short, leisurely walks. Patients also focus on
performing daily routines.
Stage II occurs after you've returned home from the hospital.
During rehab sessions, patients improve their fitness level through
exercise and learn how to create healthy habits for life. Counseling may
also be provided.
Stage III of recovery is focused on long-term health goals.
Patients continue to exercise regularly and are encouraged to apply what
they've learned during rehab to their everyday lives.