Say Yes to Cardiac Rehab

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When you suffer a heart attack or undergo heart surgery, cardiac rehabilitation gives you the tools to face and fight your heart condition.

What is Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehab is a medically-supervised program that includes safe and monitored exercise, education on topics like heart-healthy eating, and counseling to reduce stress.

Who Needs It?

Cardiac rehab is for anyone who has had a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, like bypass surgery or angioplasty. It is appropriate for all ages. Whether you’re 43 or 83, an individualized program will get you on the road to recovery.

What are the Benefits of Cardiac Rehab?

Cardiac rehab reduces the risk of death and future cardiac events, cuts down on hospitalizations, and improves quality of life. Participants often see improved lipids, blood pressure, and weight loss. They also increase their knowledge about heart disease and how to manage it. Cardiac rehab even helps with getting back to work and normal daily activities too.

Despite the many benefits of cardiac rehab, less than 20% of those eligible actually participate. Those least likely to enroll in cardiac rehab include women and minorities, and barriers include cost, time, and transportation.

Women and minorities are less likely to participate in cardiac rehab. They are also more likely to die within five years of their first heart attack, compared to white males. Cardiac rehab could make a big difference with this population!

What Can You Do?

If you or a loved one has a heart attack or coronary event, ask about cardiac rehab. If your physician refers you to a cardiac rehab program, follow up. Even if you can’t do the entire program, a few visits are better than none. Do whatever you can to get yourself or your loved one to cardiac rehab!

Find out more about cardiac rehab from the American Heart Association at

By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

Source: American Heart Association, FACTS: Cardiac Rehabilitation. Online at

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