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.
- 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:
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