February is National Heart Month. Kristy Little, nurse manager at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, talks more about the importance of cardiac rehab following a heart attack during a Feb. 17, 2015 appearance on KIT 1280.
What is cardiac rehab?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program of exercise, education and support for people with heart disease to restore good health and improve their quality of life. It is meant to reduce the chance of future cardiac problems and helps people live life to its fullest. The work is done by the patient.
According to the American Heart Association, cardiac rehab can help people who’ve had:
- A heart attack
- Coronary artery disease
- Heart failure
- A heart procedure, such as a balloon angioplasty or a pacemaker implant
- Heart surgery, such as a bypass operation or valve replacement
- GETTING PEOPLE TO TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBIILTY FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH INVOLVES BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION. IT’S NOT EASY, BUT IT CAN BE DONE, ONE STEP AT A TIME.
Where do people get treated?
Cardiac rehab may take place at the hospital or in another location.
- Memorial’s Cardiac Rehab program is located on South 30th Avenue across the street from the hospital in the West Pavilion Two building, on the second floor above the offices of the Yakima Heart Center.
- The program may last a few weeks or up to a year, although three months is common
- Medicare and health plans often cover the cost for the first two or three months
- You must be referred by a health care provider.
What happens at rehab?
The rehab team will evaluate your overall health, lifestyle, medical conditions and limitations. Then they’ll tailor a program just for you. In rehab you may:
- Work with a nutritionist to set up a heart-healthy eating plan
- Learn how to exercise safely, possibly using a treadmill, bike, rowing machine, track or weight machines
- Learn how to control chronic health conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- Learn ways to reduce stress
- Learn about your medications and how to take them
- Get tips for quitting smoking and losing weight
- Get counseling about returning to work and to activities you enjoy
- You’ll meet others who’ve been through a similar life event. That camaraderie can help you stick with your program and make the transition back to an active life.
- Rehab also is a place to find help for the emotional upheaval that is common after heart surgery or heart problems. Depression, anxiety and anger shouldn’t be ignored. They can affect you physically and keep you from recovering.
For more information, visit call 576-7650.