Following a heart attack, stroke or heart surgery, such as bypass surgery, you may require a period of cardiac rehabilitation to strengthen your heart. Altru’s Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically supervised program that offers a mix of exercise, education and risk factor modification. Our care team’s goal is to help each individual create a healthy living routine long term and gradually achieve the highest cardiovascular fitness possible.
Your rehabilitation will consist of three specific phases:
Phase I begins when you are hospitalized and recovering from heart attack, open-heart surgery or other heart disease. You will receive individual counseling on:
- Nutrition, where our nutritionists will help you learn how to create and stick with a heart-healthy diet. Your nutritionist will help you understand the importance of limiting unhealthy fats, consuming more fruits and vegetables, and incorporating whole grains into your diet.
- Exercise guidance and management will help you strengthen your heart and body. Usually, this will take place on a treadmill, rowing machine, stationary bike or a walking track. Your healthcare professional or exercise physiologist will monitor you during each exercise to ensure you build strength and endurance without overexertion or injury.
- Stress management can be managed through social and spiritual services, individual or group counseling, or a combination thereof. Managing your mental health and stress levels is crucial to cardiac rehabilitation. It helps keep your blood pressure low and allows you to learn how to handle stressful situations without unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as overeating or smoking.
- Risk factors, such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or being overweight, can increase your risk of heart disease. You will learn how to manage your risk factors to keep your heart happy and healthy.
- Medication. Your healthcare provider will monitor the effects of any medications you are on and work with you to create a medication plan that is right for you.
Phase II begins soon after leaving the hospital. Participation requires a physician referral. Exercise and educational sessions are scheduled two to three times per week, often lasting eight to twelve weeks. Heart rate, blood pressure and exercise tolerance are closely monitored. You will receive a personalized home exercise plan. Individualized risk reduction is key to recovery.
Lifestyle Change With Exercise
Phase III is an ongoing exercise program designed to help you continue your lifestyle changes. Phase III is an independent program held at the YMCA. You will continue to have access to members of the cardiac rehabilitation team. Here, you can exercise and continue to build a strong support group.
Schedule an appointment through MyChart. For more information, contact Altru’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Department at 701.780.1528.