Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program to help heart patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical, mental and social functioning. The goal is to stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease, another cardiac event or death. Cardiac rehabilitation programs include: Counseling so the patient can understand and manage the disease process Beginning an exercise program
Counseling on nutrition
Helping the patient modify risk factors such as high blood pressure, smoking, high blood cholesterol, physical inactivity, obesity and diabetes. Providing vocational guidance to enable the patient to return to work Supplying information on physical limitations
Lending emotional support
Counseling on appropriate use of prescribed medications
The long-term success of any secondary prevention program is directly related to patient compliance. Evidence suggests that improving the plasma lipid and lipoprotein profile with diet, exercise and drug therapy benefits patients. And those who quit smoking significantly reduce their risks of another heart attack, sudden death, stroke and total mortality compared with those who continue to smoke.
When supervised by a physician, cardiac rehabilitation is helpful to patients with congestive heart failure, angina pectoris (chest pain due to clogged heart arteries), recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass graft surgery or PTCA (balloon angioplasty) or who've had a pacemaker implanted, are heart transplant candidates or recipients, or have stable chronic heart failure, peripheral arterial disease with claudication, or other forms of cardiovascular disease. It also applies to patients with congenital cardiovascular disease, who may or may not have had surgery. An exercise program is normally included, but rehabilitation usually is tailored to each patient's needs. Exercise may be very structured,...