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Cardiac rehab, short for cardiac rehabilitation, is a customized program that is especially designed to help the patients recover after a heart attack or some other problems with heart. For example, cardiac rehab is often used as post-operative treatment to help the patients recover from heart disease and get their body back into balance. This rehabilitation medicine deals with optimizing the physical function of patients with cardiac disease and it is provided as a comprehensive and long-term program of exercise, cardiac risk factor modification, education and counseling. The key feature of this program is exercise but it also includes nutritional therapies, weight loss programs, restoring normal level of lipids in the body, and managing hypertension, diabetes and stress. The ultimate goal is to help the patient restore physical strength, prevent complications associated with heart diseases, and reduce the risk of future health problems and death. This is actually one of the best ways to increase patient’s chances of survival. According to the official statistics, cardiac rehabilitation is associated with a 25% decrease in overall mortality over three years. In other words, if patients with heart problems avoid exercise, they are actually limiting their chances of survival. Physical exercise is one of the safest activities they can engage in.

Who can benefit from cardiac rehab?

Cardiac rehab is a great option for patients of all ages and all kinds of heart diseases. People who can benefit mostly are convalescents from heart attack, people with coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, people who suffer from angina, congenital heart diseases or heart failure. Moreover, people who had an artery bypass surgery, heart valve replacements and even a heart transplant, are likely to benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. However, this treatment is not quite appropriate for everyone who is recovering from heart disease. If a patient is eligible for treatment, the health care team will certainly recommend cardiac rehab. It is also important to get a supervised training and minimize the possibility of injuries, especially in elderly patients.

Results of cardiac rehab

However, this is a long-term program and often lasts for the rest of the patient’s life. Over time, patient will gain strength, learn how to live heart-healthy, improve the diet and nutrition, and stop with all bad habits, with a professional support. Patient will stop smoking, learn how to manage emotional stress and learn how to cope with heart disease. The greatest benefit is, certainly, improved overall quality of life and many patients report they have feeling better than ever before.

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