Have you ever wondered what it might be like to have your own personal coach and cheerleader—someone to help you live a more active and healthful life, and make it a priority? In many ways, this is what cardiac rehabilitation (cardiac rehab) programs do for people recovering from certain heart-related conditions and procedures.
How? Among other things, cardiac rehab offers one-on-one supervised exercise regimens, practical advice for heart-healthy eating and reducing stress, and support for managing medications, smoking cessation and other heart risk factors.
Studies of this three-month medically supervised program consistently show the advantages. Cardiac rehab helps participants feel better, live a heart-healthier lifestyle and regain strength. It can also help prevent future cardiac events—even death.
Yet many people who could benefit don’t. Why? First, patients may not be referred to a cardiac rehab program. Second, even when they are referred, they may not go. A recent study found that 1 in 3 patients who are eligible don’t receive a referral to cardiac rehab from their doctor, and only 1 in 4 patients referred actually went. So there is a big gap in accessing cardiac rehab programs.
Be sure to ask about cardiac rehab and take advantage of it if you can. Read on to find out more about this program, who should enroll and what to expect.