As much as advances have been made in cardiac care over the years, heart disease remains one of the top killers of men and women.
Whether you live in the Mount Vernon area or elsewhere, there’s a lot of information that can be learned about how to manage your health and pay attention to what your heart, and the rest of your body, may be trying to tell you. Not recognizing danger signs, not taking appropriate action, or not following professional recommendations, can lead to a need for palliative care.
The Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice team are happy to work with clients and their families to ensure they have the correct information about their medical conditions and any required medication or therapy. This includes any heart-related conditions or recovery efforts.
We’re happy to talk with your provider, other family members, or caregivers to make sure everyone understands the situation and available services. Someone who may have recently had heart surgery or similar cardiac procedures performed may need to take things easy at first. Their bodies also will want to focus on recovery first.
Some clients may have temporarily been sent to a rehabilitation facility after a hospital stay, but have returned home and now are trying to stay safe and continue their new heart-healthy habits to avoid future cardiac challenges.
It’s not necessarily easy, especially if this type of rehabilitation follows a long history of poor diet and health. But it’s also generally worth the improvements since you can have more time with family.
More about cardiac rehabilitation
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest this type of rehabilitation as a great way to begin healing one’s heart from conditions like a heart attack, heart surgery, or conditions where someone needed care and even surgery. Not only can this type of rehabilitation help heal what’s there now and improve their quality of life, but reduce the risk of future damage.
According to the CDC, about 800,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack each year. OF these, 1 in 4 have had heart attacks in the past.
There are several components that help define cardiac rehabilitation. A big one is being supervised. This helps accountability by making sure someone shows up. Someone trained in cardiac care will be able to put together a customized exercise plan just for you.
Rehabilitation efforts include physical activity to help build up the heart and the muscles around it. This includes an increase in general activities to build up core strength. Efforts also include education about living better, such as how to improve the quality of food, how to take the correct amounts of pharmaceutical medicine, and how and why quitting smoking is a great idea.
There also could be a mental health component, since this could also play a role in past or future heart attacks. Someone with higher anxiety and high stress levels may be more likely to suffer heart attacks. So a program that teaches new ways of dealing with obstacles and difficulties can be especially useful in preventing future attacks.
Cardiac rehabilitation also benefits from a key team of medical professionals, all focused on a positive outcome. The healthcare team can include doctors, nurses, counselors, physical therapists, nutrition specialists, exercise specialists, and more.
Rehabilitation programs are generally customized based on who needs the care and their condition. They typically run for two to eight months but seem to average about three weeks. They may begin while you’re still in the hospital or soon after you’ve come home.
The costs can vary but generally, this type of care is covered by Medicare and private insurance, especially if a doctor provides a referral.
Do your part
The importance of heart health is getting more and more attention every year, especially the value of taking preventive steps.
February has a variety of holidays already, such as Valentine’s Day, so it’s easy to add heart-related ones to the month’s calendar.
For example, February is American Heart Month, which celebrates people taking efforts to prevent heart disease in their lives, in their families, and in their communities. The event is organized and supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The official event site includes tips on eating and living better. It also includes tips on how to spread the word at a local level, including text and hashtags for social media throughout the month. This year, part of the effort encourages everyone who wants to show they care to wear red on the first Friday of the month.
That day includes encouragement to exercise at least 25 minutes that day and other days.
For those who want to do more, there’s National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, which runs Feb. 13-19. The goal of this event is to encourage people to look into cardiac rehabilitation as an option to reduce the effects of heart disease. It also hopes to inspire people to thank healthcare professionals who work with cardiac patients.