Blog Your Heart Out

Hi friends!

As some of you may know, I work as a Clinical Exercise Specialist in Cardiac Rehabilitation. When I went into this profession, I had no real reason. My family does not have a strong history of heart disease. I just liked exercise, talking about exercise and counseling others on how to live a healthier life. Over the years, my reasons have changed. One of the big reasons are the people who become my patients that make me enjoy my job.

Today I’m Blogging My Heart Out to raise awareness for this disease that has touched all of us at some point.

When someone has a heart event, often times they feel scared, alone and not sure of what the future holds for them. Cardiac Rehabilitation is medically supervised program to help patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical, mental, and social functioning after an event. Essentially, it’s an exercise, education and support program to help patients learn how to live a healthier life. Research shows that patients who participate in Cardiac Rehab live longer and have a better quality of life than those that don’t.

I’ve seen a wide range of people who have been affected by heart disease whether it’s from Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery (CABG), Myocardial Infarction (MI), Stable Angina, Cardiomyopathy, or Valve Replacement/Repair. When I first entered the field 10+ years ago, most of my patients were at least 70 and older. While we still see older patients, we have also begun to see people in their 30s and 40s. One thing that has not changed over the years, is the amount of women who attend Cardiac Rehab after their event.

Heart disease is the number killer of women.

Yet men are still the predominate participant in rehab. Why is that? There are numerous reasons why this might be. Physicians not referring, insurance coverage (or lack of), and being afraid to exercise. Statistics show that under 20% of those eligible ever go to rehab, and women and minorities go less often than white men. We need to promote cardiac rehab for everyone.

heart - happyfitmama.comSo what can you do to help your friends, family and community know that such a resource exists for people with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease? Spread the word about the facts!

  • Many physicians are unaware of the known benefits of cardiac rehab. Primary care physicians too often believe their active or older patients won’t benefit.
  • Rehab patients not only live longer, but they have a better quality of life.
  • Rehab also offers social and psychological benefits no matter what your age.
  • Supervised rehab is safe, even for the very old.

Being diagnosed with cardiac disease is scary but the good news is you’re not alone. There are plenty of resources to help modify risk factors to live a healthier life.

For more information about heart disease, please check out the following links:

Go Red For Women Campaign

American Heart Association

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20 comments on “Blog Your Heart Out

  1. You must have an awesome job to help rehab someone’s life like that!
    When I was fresh out of nursing school my first job was on the cardiac floor of the local hospital. I was lucky enough to spend the day orienting in the cardiac rehab so that we could help explain to patients what their follow up would be like there.
    It is sad that we are seeing so many more young people with heart conditions that we previously saw in older people or drug addicts.

    Keep spreading the word :)
    Stacey RunsandEats recently posted..New-to-me section of the AT (long run).My Profile

  2. Great reminder! Doing the social media for my company I have been reading more and more info/articles about heart disease, esp in women. It’s really so frightening how high the risks are becoming and at earlier and earlier ages as well – AND that women so often completely overlook their symptoms b/c they’re so caught up in caring for others too.
    Heather (Where’s the Beach) recently posted..Beautiful Sunrise for Morning RunMy Profile

    1. It’s true that more women do die from heart attacks because their symptoms are typical and go unnoticed or they wait to long for help. The statistics for men vs women in rehab are actually for those who survived.

  3. I love hearing more about what you do. This is a post that hits close to home. My dad passed away much too young from a heart attack and heart health has been on my mind since a very young age. But still, I think that we – especially women – take it for granted or don’t pay as much attention as we should. Thank you for doing what you do.
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Friday Round-Up: Put on your own oxygen mask firstMy Profile

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