Cardiac rehabilitation (rehab) is a medically supervised program that helps improve the health and well-being of people who have heart problems.
Rehab programs include exercise training, education on heart healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress and help you return to an active life.
Cardiac rehab can help you:
- Recover after a heart attack or heart surgery.
- Prevent future hospital stays, heart problems, and death related to heart problems.
- Address risk factors that can lead to coronary heart disease and other heart problems. These risk factors include high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight or obesity, diabetes, smoking, lack of physical activity, and depression and other emotional health concerns.
- Adopt healthy lifestyle changes. These changes may include following a heart healthy diet, being physically active, and learning how to manage stress.
- Improve your health and quality of life.
Your cardiac rehab program will be designed to meet your needs.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation Team
Cardiac rehab involves a long-term commitment from the patient and a team of health care providers.
The cardiac rehab team may include doctors (such as a family doctor, a heart specialist, and a surgeon), nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, dietitians or nutritionists, and psychologists or other mental health specialists. Sometimes a case manager will help track your care.
Working with the team is an important part of cardiac rehab. You should share questions and concerns with the team. This will help you reach your goals.
People of all ages can benefit from cardiac rehab. The lifestyle changes made during rehab have few risks. These changes can improve your overall health and prevent future heart problems and even death.
Exercise training as part of cardiac rehab might not be safe for all patients. For example, if you have very high blood pressure or severe heart disease, you might not be ready for exercise. However, you can still benefit from other parts of the cardiac rehab program.
Ask your doctor whether cardiac rehab can help you prevent a future heart problem and improve your health.