Heart issues may leave you with low energy and limited physical mobility. Luckily, are programs available that work to strengthen the physical, mental, and social wellbeing of those with cardiovascular disease. Cardiac rehabilitation programs, or CR programs, were created by specialists looking to stop or reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease. Built on a foundation of aerobic exercise training in a classic gym setting, CR advances at a pace and setting that is of no risk to the patient. Additionally, CR typically includes other core components of cardiovascular health such as nutrition counseling, psychological support, stress management, tobacco education, and information on topics pertaining to things like blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol.
The average cardiac rehabilitation program is about 36 hours in total which is split into 2 to 3 one-hour sessions per week. These can take place in a hospital or a physician’s office. Just like with the severity of the condition, CR programs vary in intensity. In a more intense program, a patient can expect rigorous nutrition counseling, stress management practice, group support, and exercise training. The harder programs also require a time commitment that is double that of the average program; 72 hours of participation.
Why You Should Participate
It’s no secret that medical professionals have differing opinions on most things, but the one thing they will unanimously recommend is CR programs. CR can lengthen the life of anyone who has one or more of the following conditions: any type of myocardial infarction (previous heart attack) or acute coronary syndrome, angina (chest pain or pressure), heart failure, and recent coronary artery stent placement, coronary bypass graft surgery, cardiac valve surgery, or heart transplant. If you have any of these conditions and are concerned with affordability, no need to worry! Medicare and most other commercial health insurers cover cardiac rehabilitation for you.
Even if you think you’ve already done everything you can to manage living with heart disease, cardiac rehabilitation has been proven to reduce your risk of hospital readmission and cardiovascular death by 25% to 50%. Completing a CR program will improve your exercise capacity, help you lose weight and dangerous body fat, lower cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, and provide you with the support you need to not only live longer, but live better.
Taking part in a program will supplement any other medical interventions you are participating in and will result in major improvements in your quality of life.
How Cardiac Rehabilitation Works
Cardiac rehabilitation works because it addresses the underlying causes of heart disease. Aerobic exercise, stress management, and healthy nutrition all have positive effects on the performance of your cardiovascular system. This means lowering inflammation, relaxing blood vessels, and reducing the risk of blood clots.
If you’re interested in participating in a CR program, contact your primary health care physician to discuss getting started. You won’t regret it!
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