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8 Mistakes Heart Patients Make
If you've already been through one heart attack, you're at increased risk for another, but with a few smart moves you can reduce that risk.
Unfortunately, many heart patients have mistaken ideas about what's good for them.
Mistake 1: Thinking all heart attacks are the same.
If your Aunt Mary had a heart attack even after a lifetime of eating low-fat foods and jogging every day, you may think changing your own lifestyle is not worth the trouble. Or, your friend the construction worker may have given up his job after a heart attack, so you assume you'll need to give up your desk job, too. Don't count on it. Work with your doctor to learn what's best for you personally.
Mistake 2: Not adopting a healthier lifestyle.
Learning to eat better may seem like the challenge of a lifetime--not to mention giving up cigarettes or making time for regular exercise. Yet, these are some of the best things you can do for a happier, healthier future.
Important steps that can help you prevent a second heart attack include:
Exercise regularly, according to your health care provider's advice.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet low in fat and calories.
Control your weight.
Manage your blood pressure.
Control your cholesterol levels.
Control diabetes or any other blood sugar abnormalities.
Mistake 3: Staying stuck in grief or depression.
You may have lost your healthy self-image or the ability to do important things in your life. Any major life change will bring feelings of loss and may require a grieving process.
You and your family may need to work through a variety of emotions after your heart attack. Keep in mind that doing so leads to a positive, constructive future.
If you are overwhelmed with feelings of grief or depression, don't hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional.
Mistake 4: Giving up on heart medications.
Don't stop taking your medications without talking to your health care provider. Work with your provider to determine what your choices are and what these medications can do for you in terms of risk versus benefit. Ask for help in choosing the ones that:
Mistake 5: Tiptoeing around your family.
Think about it: If you quit smoking and everyone else in the family quits as a result, you'll be helping everyone. Don't be afraid to make a big deal about your attempts at a healthy lifestyle; ask your loved ones to give you as much support as possible.
Mistake 6: Staking your life on yesterday's truths.
In many cases, the treatments doctors relied on just a few years ago already are considered outdated. There have been dramatic changes in medications and procedures, so stay up-to-date with regular visits to your health care team.
Mistake 7: Shunning exercise.
Maybe you're worried it will overstress your heart, but regular exercise actually may be one of the best things you can do for your heart. It's crucial for someone who's already had a heart attack to exercise properly under the advice of a doctor. Get an exercise prescription designed just for you, based on your physical condition and your needs and interests.
Exercise can help people control risks related to weight, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar. One excellent way to get started is to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program.
Mistake 8: Not "bothering" your doctor with questions.
Your health care provider is your greatest ally and wants to partner in your care. Don't hesitate to call if you have questions or concerns.
What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?
Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program of exercise, education, counseling and training that helps patients with heart disease achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Phase 2 program at the Wellness Center includes three 60-minute sessions per week and usually lasts for 12 weeks depending on insurance or the physician's prescription. A Phase 3 cardiac rehabilitation program is now available.
Candidates for cardiac rehabilitation
Patients with stable coronary heart disease are suitable candidates for this program. This includes patients diagnosed with:
- Coronary artery disease
- Stable angina
- Heart attack
- Congestive heart failure
- Angioplasty or stent placement
- Heart surgery (coronary artery bypass grafting, valve surgery)
- Heart Transplant
Phase 2 Cardiac Rehabilitation program
Phase 2 Cardiac Rehab participants are usually referred by their cardiologist or primary care physician. Exercise sessions are monitored through telemetry (ECG) monitors and begin with an appropriate individualized exercise level that will gradually progress in duration and intensity.
Blood pressure, heart rate and signs and symptoms are all monitored before and during each session by our team of specialists. During this phase, participants enjoy a personalized exercise program tailored to achieve their specific fitness goals. Upon completion of the program, patients are ready and able to continue their home exercise program or join the maintenance program at The Wellness Center.
Phase 3 Cardiac Rehabilitation program
Phase 3 cardiac rehabilitation is another option for a hospital-based cardiac rehab. The patient will take part in a closely supervised non-EKG-monitored exercise program. Patients will have the opportunity to learn about lifestyle changes, risk factor reduction via educational classes, nutrition, and cardio and strength exercise.
Trained wellness center staff will monitors patients’ blood pressure, oxygen levels, heart rate and perceived exertion levels.
* A patient may begin the phase 3 program only after receiving physician’s approval. This program is $10 per session and is not covered by insurance. For more information, please call 954-355-4861.
Through biweekly classes, patients gain a better understanding of heart disease and the importance of lifestyle management. Taught by a team of cardiac health experts, topics include:
- Cardiovascular risk factors
- Angina and latest treatments
- Weight loss
- Benefits of exercise
- Stress management
- Food label reading
- Heart healthy lifestyle changes
- Coronary disease
Benefits of a hospital-based program
Our hospital setting provides a highly specialized program in a safe environment. The cardiac rehabilitation program is conducted by a team of highly trained specialist and includes:
- Exercise physiologists
How does exercise help?
Exercise plays a significant role in reducing heart disease. A major part of cardiac rehabilitation consists of safe, personalized exercise therapy monitored by our trained professionals. Exercise sessions take place at The Wellness Center where patients have access to a wide range of the latest exercise equipment and a diverse class schedule, including a variety of aerobics, strength training, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.
Cardiovascular exercise will help:
- Reduce heart rate and blood pressure
- Improve stamina and muscle tone
- Increase the heart's efficiency
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Control body weight
- Improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels
- Improve self-confidence and overall sense of well-being
Most insurance companies reimburse for cardiac rehabilitation. A prescription and insurance verification is required prior to starting the program.
If you are interested in our cardiac rehabilitation program and would like more information, please contact the Wellness Center at Broward Health Medical Center at 954-712-4275.