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Exercising Your Heart — Cardiac Rehab

Surviving a cardiac event is a worthy accomplishment. Ensure you keep your ticker in tip-top shape by following through with cardiac rehabilitation.

The American Heart Association reports that patients who participate in cardiac rehabilitation following angioplasty experience a 46 percent relative reduction in premature death.

While exercise may be last on the list of activities you feel like doing after experiencing a cardiac event, it’s exactly what your heart needs to get stronger and better faster. Individuals who benefit from cardiac rehab include those who have had a heart attack, angioplasty, coronary artery bypass, heart transplant, lung transplant or stable angina. Benefits include:

• Decreasing your risk of future heart problems

• Diminishing your risk factors for heart disease

• Enhancing your quality of life

• Improving your overall health

• Minimizing pain

• Reducing the need for medication to treat heart conditions

If images of exercise equipment and gym towels are all that come to mind when you think about cardiac rehab, think again. Cardiac rehab involves more than just physical activity. It’s about educating yourself and changing your lifestyle to one that is more heart healthy. In cardiac rehab, individuals not only learn how to exercise for their hearts, but also about proper diet and nutrition, ways to reduce stress, how to cook heart-healthy meals, steps to prevent future injury, and simple modifications to everyday life.

Texas Health Resources provides its patients with exceptional cardiac rehab care in a relaxed, accommodating environment. Participating patients receive:

• Access to modifiable equipment for individuals with special needs or limitations

• An individualized assessment and treatment plan to help increase strength and endurance

• Blood pressure and heart rate monitoring

• Extensive education on attaining a heart-healthy lifestyle

• Professional guidance about adapting to a new standard of living

• Telemetry-monitored and supervised progressive exercise sessions

“What makes the cardiac rehab programs unique at Texas Health is the staff,” says Pat Paprocki, manager of Cardiac Rehab at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. “Our staff is made up of both registered nurses and exercise physiologists. We utilize the expertise from both fields combined with a passion for the services we provide. We try to anticipate our patients’ needs and accommodate them in every capacity.”

In addition to traditional rehab methods, Texas Health strives to take a more interactive and entertaining approach by adding variety to keep exercise and education fresh and interesting. Some new offerings include heart-healthy cooking and tasting classes, utilizing the Nintendo Wii as a part of physical activity, discussing emotional aspects of heart disease and depression, elective spiritual health classes, education about reading nutrition labels, relaxation techniques, yoga classes, and more.

And while it may sound cliché, education truly is key when it comes to heart health.

“Texas Health is one of the few places that offers such an excellent selection of educational courses targeting heart health that are free and open to the public,” says Brenda Doughty, manager of Cardiac Rehab at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital. “The educational class schedules are posted on our website, and we encourage everyone who wants to learn more about heart health and healthy lifestyles to attend.”

Do you know the unsettling truths about heart disease? Check out these figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

• Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States.

• The most common form of heart disease is coronary heart disease.

• Each year, approximately 785,000 Americans experience their first heart attack.

• In 2010, heart disease cost the United States nearly $317 billion in health care services, medications and lost productivity.

Most startling of all — heart disease is preventable.

For more about heart and vascular services at Texas Health entities, visit TexasHealth.org/Heart.

Fall/Winter 2011

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