Cardiac Rehabilitation- Cardiology, Physical Medicine And Rehabilitation
Doctors: Doctors, nurses, exercise specialists, physical and occupational therapists, nutritionists, and mental health specialists.
What is cardiac rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation, also known as cardiac rehab, is a medically managed program to enhance patient’s cardiovascular health after experiencing heart attack, heart failure, heart surgery or angioplasty. The main goal of this program is to help the patient return to an active life as well as to decrease the risk of any further heart problems.
What does cardiac rehabilitation involve?
Cardiac rehabilitation is provided either in a clinic or in a hospital based rehab centre. It mainly involves implementing heart-healthy lifestyle modifications.
- Medical evaluation: As a first step in the program, the patient’s physical abilities, medical limitations as well as any other conditions are evaluated. Probable risk factors for heart diseases are evaluated when patient is performing an exercise. Along with this several tests are done such as electrocardiogram (EKG) and cardiac imaging tests. All these evaluations are helpful to understand each patient’s requirements.
- Exercise: Exercise is very important to improve cardiovascular fitness. Patient is advised to start with low impact exercises with lower risk of injury, such as walking, cycling, rowing, jogging etc. Depending on the patient’s condition, he or she may also do muscle-strengthening exercises two or three times a week in enhance muscle fitness. This includes lifting weights or other resistance training exercises. Exercise basically gets the patient’s heart pumping and gets the whole cardiovascular system working.
- Lifestyle modifications: Patient is also provided education on making healthy lifestyle modifications. This includes regular exercise, eating a heart-healthy diet, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Patients are provided appropriate guidance to manage their high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Support and counselling: As stress has negative effects on heart, this program also helps the patient to deal with day to day stress. As heart disease is a serious condition, many patients may feel anxious or depressed. Counselling helps the patients to cope with depression and other emotions. Patient may also be given antidepressants.
Overall, cardiac rehabilitation can improve patient’s health and overall quality of life. This program may be helpful to reduce the requirement for medications to treat heart or chest pain, reduce the chances of returning back to a hospital, and prevent future heart problems.
To learn more about Cardiac Rehabilitation, please check our blog on CARDIAC ISSUES AND ROLE OF PHYSIOTHERAPY.
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Dr. Anand Lakhkar is a physician scientist from India. He completed his basic medical education from India and his postgraduate training in pharmacology from the United States. He has a MS degree in pharmacology from New York Medical College, a MS degree in Cancer/Neuro Pharmacology from Georgetown University and a PhD in Pharmacology from New York Medical College where he was the recipient of the Graduate Faculty Council Award for academic and research excellence. His research area of expertise is in pulmonary hypertension, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular pharmacology. He has multiple publications in international peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research at at prestigious conferences.