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What is cardiac rehabilitation?

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Quick Answer

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically monitored program that helps people recover from a heart attack, heart surgery and heart procedures, such as angioplasty, valve replacement and stenting, says the American Heart Association. It involves education on stress management, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise, adds Everyday Health.

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Full Answer

A cardiac rehabilitation program involves a medical assessment to determine the patient's specific needs. The patient then engages in a monitored physical activity program and learns to check his heart rate and intensity level. The patient receives counseling and education to understand and manage the heart problem, create healthy diet plans and manage stress. Smokers receive smoking cessation programs. The program also provides emotional support, according to the American Heart Association.

A cardiac rehab team may include dietitians, nurses, fitness and mental health specialists, physical therapists and doctors. Benefits of the program include the adoption of lifestyle changes, such as healthy diet plans; prevention of future heart problems; aiding in the recovery from heart problems; and managing risk factors, such as high cholesterol, obesity and depression, notes the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

When choosing a cardiac rehab program, factors to consider include its convenience in terms of the program's duration and the patient's proximity to the rehab center and whether the program addresses the patient's specific needs and his mental health, advises Healthgrades. Other factors to consider are cost and whether the program is in an individual or group setting, reports the American Heart Association.

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