Cardiac Rehab: A Second Chance

December 19, 2022 /// 2 Min Read

Cardia Rehab: A Second Chance

This article was Featured in the publication, The Millen News.


Although nothing can change the past, cardiac rehabilitation can help improve the heart’s future.

Yet, fewer than 20 percent of eligible patients participate.

Through a medically supervised program designed to improve cardiovascular health after experiencing a heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty, or heart surgery, cardiac rehab is a team effort to take charge of the choices and habits that affect the heart. It has three equally important parts to help the heart’s future: exercise counseling and training, education for heart-healthy living, and counseling to reduce stress.

While in cardiac rehab, patients learn how to get their body moving in ways that get their heart pumping and their cardiovascular system working to promote heart health.

People with heart disease need regular physical activity as much as anyone else. Studies show that people who begin regular exercise and make other health changes after a heart attack, live longer and have a better quality of life than those who don’t.

Another key element of cardiac rehab is educating patients on managing risk factors, quitting smoking, and making healthy nutrition choices.

Sodium intake, saturated fat, and trans-fat must be controlled in the diet when patients have experienced heart health issues. Changing the diet will not only help reduce cholesterol and help to lower blood pressure, but it will aid in weight loss which is a vital component of heart health if a patient is currently overweight.

Along with physical activity, taking medications correctly and quitting smoking can create healthy habits that reduce the risks and promote the health of the organ that keeps patients alive.

Finally, everyone experiences stress – a condition caused by a reaction to physical, chemical, emotional, or environmental factors; however, people feel it and react differently.

Constant or chronic stress can cause the body to remain in high gear for extended periods, which causes breathing and heart rates to speed up and blood pressure to rise.

While it’s unknown if stress can increase cardiovascular disease risk, it may affect other risk factors and behaviors, such as high blood pressure, smoking, physical inactivity, and overeating.

So, it’s safe to say stress can hurt the heart, and part of cardiac rehabilitation will help to identify and tackle everyday sources of stress so patients can make time for the heart-healthy things they enjoy.

Every step toward heart health will help you take the next step. It may not always be fun or easy, but it’s worth it if it can lower the risk of a second cardiac event and get on a path to feeling better and living longer.

Individuals who attend 36 sessions have a 47 percent lower risk of death and a 31 percent lower risk of heart attack than those who attend only one session.

Burke Health expanded its cardiology offerings over the year by adding a cardiology clinic, CathLab, and echocardiography. In addition, the first pacemaker procedure was performed recently.

As the facility strives to improve access to convenient, expert healthcare, Cardiac Rehab and Nuclear Medicine are now services people can receive locally.