What do Saint Valentine, Presidents Lincoln and Washington, Punxsutawney Phil, and your heart all share? February celebrations, of course! At Panhandle Home Health, though, your heart is the focus of our attention.
February is American Heart Month, and the week of February 9th through 15th is specifically designated National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. Its 2020 theme is New Start Better Heart.
Panhandle Home Health believes beginnings are wonderful, but we know they can often be a bit overwhelming too. As you start your journey to heal your heart after a cardiovascular event, some basic knowledge and a bit of support are key to finding your way to a successful destination: A better life!
Cardiac rehabilitation programs are recommended by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology because they’ve been shown to reduce the risk of death from heart disease and reduce the risk of future heart problems. According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiac rehabilitation may benefit you if your medical history includes a
- heart attack;
- coronary artery disease;
- heart failure;
- peripheral artery disease;
- angina (chest pain);
- certain congenital heart diseases;
- coronary artery bypass surgery;
- angioplasty and stents;
- heart or lung transplant;
- heart valve repair or replacement;
- pulmonary hypertension.
Patients engage in cardiac rehabilitation to regain strength, prevent their conditions from worsening, reduce the risk of future cardiac issues, and improve their health and quality of life.
The Mayo Clinic emphasizes that people of all ages can benefit from cardiac rehabilitation: You are never the wrong age to participate!
Ask your physician about a program, and check with your insurance company about costs and reimbursement. Programs vary in scope and duration, depending upon individual needs, abilities, and limitations, as determined by your medical evaluation.
Cardiac rehab may start while you are hospitalized or it may wait until after you are released and return to your home. That’s when Panhandle Home Health can help. We’ve been assisting West Virginia residents with their rehabilitation needs for 44 years. https://www.panhandlehomehealth.org/about-us/
Your heart’s recovery needs to be your top priority. That’s hard for most of us, and particularly women, who are accustomed to putting others’ needs first. But women and men alike often feel overburdened and discouraged after a heart attack because they’re coping with dietary changes, medications, doctors’ orders, and the advice of many well-meaning others. Although WomenHeart’s mission is to “improve the health and quality of life of women living with or at risk of heart disease, and to advocate for their benefit,” its website has very useful information for everybody.
You are in the driver’s seat on the road to rehabilitation, and your success with cardiac rehabilitation undoubtedly requires your determination and commitment; however, the American Heart Association (AHA) reminds us that heart disease needn’t be faced alone, and rehabilitation is a team effort, involving medical professionals, family, and friends. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cardiac-rehab/what-is-cardiac-rehabilitation
The AHA explains that cardiac rehab has three equally important components:
Learning how to move in ways that nurture heart health: Regular physical activity helps you to maintain strength and function, and it includes housework, walking, playing with your kids, and organized sports. Low-impact activities, performed at least three times a week, with adequate warm-up and cool-down, are generally suggested, and they may include muscle-strengthening exercises to enhance your fitness. You don’t need to be athletically-inclined or well-coordinated! Your healthcare team will show you how to move safely, comfortably, and effectively.
During the initial recovery period, patients may benefit from the services of Panhandle Home Health’s occupational therapists, who help you re-gain your ability to accomplish the daily activities that are important for independent living, including a return to work.
Learning how to manage your individual risk factors by making some changes: stop smoking; choose more nutritious foods; achieve the weight that’s right for you; take medications as prescribed; monitor blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar; recognize the signs of a heart attack or stroke; have a plan to obtain emergency help if you require it. Write down all of your questions as they occur to you, so you won’t forget to ask your healthcare team for guidance.
Our registered dietician can develop easy and appetizing meal plans for you, based upon your physician’s recommendations, that will complement your new healthy lifestyle. https://www.panhandlehomehealth.org/our-services/dietician-services/
Learning how to manage your everyday sources of stress because stress harms your heart: Although the link between stress and heart disease is still unclear, stress affects behaviors and factors that increase the risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure and cholesterol, physical inactivity, smoking, overeating, and alcohol abuse. Depression may negatively impact your rehab program and your relationships, so don’t hesitate to tell your healthcare team if you are feeling down or anxious.
Panhandle Home Health’s social workers can help patients in cardiac rehabilitation and their families navigate the challenges of the recovery journey.
Panhandle’s Tip for February: Remember, if you undertake cardiac rehab wholeheartedly, you may in fact surpass restored and find your life far better than before!