February 9-15 is Cardiac Rehabilitation Week. This is a time to look at how this discipline tackles the most deadly disease in our nation and how cardiac patients can benefit. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. However, participation in rehabilitation can give them a greater chance of living longer and healthier lives.
According to the American Heart Association, of the roughly 915,000 Americans who have had a heart attack, more than 30 percent will have a second one. A cardiac rehabilitation program that uses exercise training and healthy living education aids in recovery and reduces the chances of future heart attacks. Despite the benefits, few people with heart disease participate in such programs. The American Heart Association has found that only about 14 to 35 percent of eligible heart attack survivors and 31 percent of coronary bypass surgery patients enter into a cardiac rehabilitation program.
There can be many reasons that participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program is low, including lack of referral or endorsement from a patient’s doctor, limited or no health insurance coverage, conflicts with work or home duties, or lack of availability and access in the patient’s area. However, it’s been proven that cardiac rehabilitation works to not only prevent more heart attacks but to save lives. The American Heart Association reports that people who participate in a cardiac rehab program have a 20 to 30 percent lower rate of mortality and higher quality of life scores. Despite the benefits, participation remains below half.
At times, it’s their personal reservations that are the hurdles for a patient to overcome. Often, by the time some patients get to cardiac rehab, they’ve seen several doctors, started taking new medications and may be afraid to exercise. They may even believe that staying home and taking it easy is their best option. At Rehab First, we work with our residents through an interdisciplinary and highly individualized approach to optimize the overall physical, mental and social health of patients with heart-related problems. We offer rehabilitation for heart and stroke patients that includes one-on-one sessions and personalized treatment techniques that are based on getting results.