What Does a Cardiac Rehab Program Involve?


Cardiac problems are no joke…

Cardiac issues are huge conditions that can wreak havoc on the organism, and even leave long-lasting consequences, when they are not fatal. They have taken the lives of many, including several famous people, amongst them the recent demise of worldwide famous rapper DMX, a man known for his strong lyrics, lifelong resilience, and overall tough character. In other words, no one is immune from cardiac problems and other diseases of the heart. For those that survive it’s important to maintain a healthy attitude and lifestyle, that’s why it’s critical to understand what a cardiac rehab program is.

What is a Cardiac Rehab Program?

According to the AHA (American Heart Association), cardiac rehab program is : “Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program designed to improve your cardiovascular health if you have experienced heart attack, heart failure, angioplasty or heart surgery. “ It consists of three pillars:

  • Exercise Counselling and Training
  • Education
  • Counselling

The first item involves adequateing the wounded heart in order to strengthen it, and reduce the chances of another cardiac inconvenient, since exercise bestows the heart a higher blood pressure tolerance, and induces better overall vascularization. 

The second concept consists of acquiring education on the circulatory system. This encompasses proper nutrition (laying off salts, excessive sugar, and fats), knowing heart attack/distress symptoms, as well as recognizing the signs of a possible stroke. 

Another important aspect, and the final piece of Cardiac Rehab Therapy, is the psychological one. Counselling can do wonders to a person’s all-around well-being, and helps them cope with stress. The former being the most notorious player in heart issues.

The four phases of a cardiac rehabilitation program

Acute Phase: 

In this part of the cardiac rehabilitation program, you will be taught the risk factors. This will enable you to diminish and ultimately control them more efficiently. Alongside the educational aspect of rehab, you are also going to undergo a specific set of key exercises to train your body. These will be supervised by health professionals to ensure that they are up to par with your level and your goals. After this stage, a discharge plan will be created by a professional. This will enhance your chances of success outside the institution and allow you to move into outpatient care. 

Subacute Phase:

In this phase, the assigned caretaker supervises the body’s reaction to the planned methodology and curriculum. This phase normally takes three to six weeks. It will give the patient the needed tools and methods to start performing actions on their own. The ultimate objective of this phase is to substantially move the patient towards overall independence. This is a transition phase made to promote self-sufficiency after the cardiac episode.

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Intensive Outpatient Therapy

During this phase, exercise intensity is boosted in order to strengthen muscle tissue. In this part of the process, the caretaker professional will examine the patient for a dedicated time period of three to four weeks. This step will likely be reinforced with group meetings and interactive therapy with other patients —  note that during pandemic circumstances have changed due to the danger of potential exposure to the COVID virus. By now, patients should be competent enough to monitor their own heart rate, andl bodily response to exercise without much (if any) assistance. Also, a key factor of this critical period is that the patient is galvanized towards full independence. They should be able to perform their exercises. They should also have a detailed platform on how to deal with the aftermath of their episode and possible cardiac recurrence. The healthcare professional’s duty in this phase is to help overcome plateau situations that might occur while leveling up the intensity. Patients are also likely to be tested regularly to evaluate their heart’s response to resistance training. 

Some of the exercises might include: 

  • Six-minute walk tests.
  • Timed up and go test (getting up from a chair, walking a short distance, and sitting once more.)
  • Biking.
  • Rowing.
  • Walking on a treadmill.
  • Overall strength and flexibility exercises.

Independent Ongoing Conditioning to Maintain Optimal Cardiac Health

If the patient has followed therapy protocol thoroughly, they will transcend onto the fourth and final phase of the program. Here a person will  graduate and need to operate fully independent. They will have the know-how, education and conditioning to perform all manner of tasks as well as manage risk-factors. Professional healthcare surveillance and assistance will be sporadic at best.

You’re not Out Of The Woods Yet

More than 735,000 people in the US have heart attacks or heart related issues nearly. Of those, more than 12,000 die— and over 300,000 will have a second one in that same year. In other words, if you had a heart attack and survived, chances are that in due time you’ll experience another. Heart attacks are recurrent. People with coronary disease have a 50% chance of regular infractions or other episodes. Therapy and Rehab programs decrease these odds while also fomenting a healthier lifestyle that promotes awareness and control.