Cardiac rehabilitation: What it is, advantages, heart conditions it can manage | Health

Cardiac rehabilitation plays a crucial role in your recovery from a heart attack or any other cardiac-related issue where with the help of aggressive cardiac rehabilitation, one can minimise the risk of experiencing another, potentially more severe, heart attack and develop habits that promote a healthy heart. Read on as we tell you everything you need to know about cardiac rehabilitation.

Cardiac rehabilitation: What it is, advantages, heart conditions it can manage (Photo by Twitter/vaibhavwamrfr)

Heart problems are not limited to a particular age group; they can affect anyone, from young children to the elderly and this is an alarming trend that demands our attention. In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Vidya Suratkar, Cardiac Surgeon at Lilavati Hospital, shared, “The perception that heart issues only occur in older individuals needs to be shattered. In fact, there is a significant increase in cardiovascular diseases among younger populations, suggesting that preventive measures should be implemented at an early age.”

She revealed, “One contributing factor to the rising prevalence of heart problems among all age groups is the sedentary lifestyle many people lead. With advancements in technology and the growing popularity of desk jobs, physical activity has taken a backseat for many individuals. This lack of exercise greatly impacts the functioning of the heart and leads to numerous health issues, including obesity and high blood pressure. Furthermore, stress, smoking, pollution, and poor dietary choices also play a significant role in increasing heart problems across different age groups and a large number of people suffer from heart attacks and other cardiac problems. Cardiac rehabilitation is a boon for patients with heart problems.”

What is cardiac rehabilitation?

Dr Vidya Suratkar answered, “Cardiac rehabilitation is a crucial program designed for those recovering from a heart attack, heart failure, or any other heart condition that necessitates surgical intervention or medical treatment. This supervised program encompasses various components such as engaging in physical activity and receiving education on healthy lifestyle practices including proper nutrition, medication adherence, and smoking cessation. Additionally, counseling is provided to explore stress management techniques and enhance mental well-being. Throughout the cardiac rehabilitation journey, a team of professionals including doctors, exercise and nutrition experts, physical therapists, and counselors will be there to support you and ensure proper recovery.”

Conditions that can be managed through cardiac rehabilitation:

Dr Vidya Suratkar said, “Did you know? Cardiac rehabilitation plays a significant role in the recovery process for individuals who have encountered different cardiovascular issues such as heart attacks, heart failure, utilization of a ventricular assist device, stable angina, heart or heart-lung transplants, repairs or replacements of heart valves, coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), coronary artery angioplasty with or without a stent placement and peripheral artery disease.”

What are the advantages of cardiac rehabilitation?

Dr Vidya Suratkar highlighted, “Cardiac rehabilitation can provide various health benefits such as enhancing your heart and overall physical condition following a heart attack, alleviating heart-related symptoms like chest pain, fostering healthier habits like increasing physical activity, quitting smoking, maintaining an optimum weight, and adopting a heart-healthy diet. Engaging in aerobic exercises such as walking, riding a stationary bike, or using an elliptical or step trainer can be beneficial. Similarly, activities focused on building muscle strength like lifting free weights or utilising cable machines and resistance bands can also be advantageous.”

She explained, “A nutritionist or dietitian might collaborate with you to assist in reducing the consumption of unhealthy fats while promoting the intake of fruits and vegetables rich in essential nutrients and fiber. Cardiac rehabilitation aids in stress reduction by enhancing your emotional well-being. Patients tend to experience higher levels of sadness following a heart attack. Engaging in cardiac rehabilitation can mitigate or alleviate depression symptoms, thereby promoting a more positive mood. Additionally, it boosts your vitality and physical prowess, facilitating everyday tasks such as lifting groceries and ascending stairs effortlessly.”

The heart health expert elaborated, “Furthermore, it fosters adherence to prescribed medications aimed at reducing the likelihood of future heart complications. Ultimately, it serves as a preventive measure against potential illness and mortality associated with heart disease, reduces the risk of another heart attack, and improves the quality of life. Cardiac rehabilitation can begin either during your hospital stay or immediately after you are discharged. The duration of these programs typically spans around 4 months. It is advisable to consult with your doctor regarding cardiac rehabilitation.”

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