Cardiac Rehabilitation (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Phases of Cardiac Rehab
Cardiac rehab is a program designed specifically for you and your medical needs. It includes exercise, lifestyle changes, education, and emotional support. It can help improve your health and enable you to live a more active life after you have had a heart attack or heart surgery or if you have a long-term heart problem such as heart failure. Cardiac rehab can also help you return to work safely and in a timely manner.
You may start a cardiac rehab program while you are still in the hospital after having treatment for a heart attack or other heart problem, soon after leaving the hospital, or at any other time to help prevent future heart problems, improve the quality of your life, and make you healthier. Your doctor will give you an exercise prescription that gives you and your cardiac rehab team guidelines for the frequency, duration, and intensity of exercise. The prescription will be based on your medical condition and your fitness level.
How fast you recover depends on your age, your health, and whether you have other health conditions that may slow your recovery. A younger person without other health problems may improve more quickly than an older person who is in poor health. Depending on your condition and how you respond to rehab, you may stay in a particular phase or move back and forth among the various phases. There is no set length of time that you must stay in a specific phase.
Cardiac rehab has four phases. Your doctor will determine which phase is best for you to start your program.
When to call a doctor
If any of the following symptoms last for more than a few minutes before, during, or after your exercise session, stop exercising and seek medical help:
Phase I: Inpatient program
Phase I takes place in the hospital after you have experienced a heart attack or other major heart problem. Phase I of cardiac rehab usually includes:
Home program, phase II, and phase III: Outpatient programs
The remaining three phases of your cardiac rehab take place outside the hospital. At first, your rehab team will keep a close watch on how exercise affects your heart and how you are progressing, before gradually releasing you from supervision to continue cardiac rehab on your own. The healthier lifestyle you've learned-including eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and not smoking-can then become a way of life for you.
During this time you may also see your doctor regularly to treat other medical conditions, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
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