Don’t miss out on the benefits of cardiac rehab

February is American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, 1 in 4 deaths are caused by heart disease. While ways to prevent heart disease are widely known and touted by our health professionals, the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation for those who already have cardiovascular disease are not.

Fighting one of the biggest problems in our nation goes beyond prevention when, according to the American Heart Association, about 92.1 million American adults are living with some form of cardiovascular disease or the after-effects of stroke.  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, like the one at Rehab First, 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 in getting results.

To learn more about cardiac rehabilitation, contact Rehab First at