What do they do in cardiac rehab?

What about cardiac rehabilitation centers? 

A cardiac rehabilitation center is a facility located in your community, perhaps at a YMCA or in a hospital. These centers are staffed by nurses trained in the skills needed to supervise physical activity and provide guidance on medications, diet, and rate of recovery after a heart attack. Physicians are readily available if needed and are sometimes in attendance.
These centers can make your recovery much easier and help you build confidence by meeting other people who are recovering successfully from a heart attack. Cardiac rehabilitation centers will help you implement the program outlined in this blog, and going to a rehabilitation center can be the very best way to get back to a normal life as soon as possible.

 A cardiac rehabilitation program works on all of the risk factors and your individual program is designed to help you make the transition from knowing in your mind what you need to do to actually doing it. You will acquire the skills you need, such as how to check your blood pressure and make sure it is within the guidelines you’ve been taught and how to exercise at an appropriate level. You will also earn self-assessment skills so you will know what to be concerned about and what is not necessary to report to your physician.

Your initial evaluation at a center gives you an opportunity to have your questions answered and to check your current cholesterol and triglyceride status, your blood pressure, your smoking status, stress factors, and your physical ability to exercise. In addition, you will discuss your current diet, the number of calories you currently take in from fat, and what dietary changes you should make. The evaluation is directed toward getting you to the lowest risk level possible and toward designing the exercise program best for you. Exercise in cardiac rehabilitation is supervised by specialized nurses, with physicians available, too.

Can these centers help with psychological issues, too? 

Yes, talking with the health professional at a cardiac rehabilitation center can help you deal with psychological and emotional issues, particularly your fears fears that can block your progress toward full recovery. Being in a group of others combating their heart disease is sometimes the best psychological boost you can get.

Will the health care system pay for a cardiac rehabilitation program? 

Often Medicare covers these programs as long as the Medicare guidelines are met; some HMOs cover these costs, at least for a few months. Some rehabilitation programs are more community based and try to charge an affordable rate if you want to continue beyond the typical three to four months that are covered by many insurance plans. Call your health plan to see what costs they will cover and for how long.

Where can I find a cardiac rehabilitation program? 

Cardiac rehabilitation programs exist throughout the United States, but unfortunately many are underutilized. Only about 30 percent of eligible people actually participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program. After you’ve found out that you have coronary artery disease, or after you’ve had a heart bypass or a heart attack, you can significantly decrease your risk of further complications by finding a center nearest you and enrolling in its program. Ask your health care professional or hospital after care adviser for a referral.


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