cardiac rehabilitation

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what is cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation is a complex and medically supervised program comprising of exercise and education to help people improve their heart health. 

The main aims of cardiac rehab are reducing your risk factors, long-term management of your health, and protecting your heart. This is a broad term that involves the assessment and correction of other aspects like psychosocial factors, environment, and overall wellbeing.  

It is an inter-professional intervention that requires not only the patient but also the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and caregivers like friends and family to play important roles.

what does cardiac rehabilitation involve?

There are three important components of a cardiac rehabilitation program including:

  • Exercise and training: This involves the use of strength training and balance training to enable the cardiovascular system to become healthier and work better.
  • Education: This involves educating the patient and her/his caregivers about lifestyle changes that you need to make to enjoy good cardiovascular health. 
  • Counselling: Suffering from cardiac issues can leave a lot of patients stressed and anxious. Counselling is an important part of cardiac rehabilitation that helps a person in learning how to manage stress.  

who needs cardiac rehabilitation?

Anyone who has experienced mild, moderate, or severe cardiac diseases and undergone correctional surgery for them will benefit from a cardiac rehab program, especially physiotherapy. There are certain sets of people that benefit the most from cardiac rehabilitation. These include people who have had a:

  • Heart attack
  • Angina
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Stable heart failure

It also benefits patients who have undergone one of these cardiac procedures:

  • Bypass surgery
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Coronary angioplasty or stenting
  • Heart valve replacement or repair
  • Heart or lung transplant

what are the benefits of cardiac rehabilitation and physiotherapy?

Cardiac rehabilitation and especially cardiac rehab exercises play a critical role in managing heart-related complications and risks for patients who have suffered a cardiac event or procedure. 

Some of the most important benefits include:

  • Fewer heart problem-related symptoms like fatigue, angina, breathlessness, etc. 
  • Physiotherapy greatly helps in containing the extent of damage that cardiac diseases can continue to do.
  • Decreased chances of the recurrence of heart-related complications.
  • Better adherence to the prescribed medications.
  • Reduction in stress and anxiety.
  • Improvement in the levels of endurance.
  • Better understanding of one’s heart condition and ways it can be managed.
  • The patient becomes more independent, mobile, and agile and is able to complete his daily tasks with minimal supervision.
  • Physiotherapy helps in relieving the patient of risk factors like high cholesterol, high blood pressure, etc. 
  • Since physiotherapy helps in making the heart stronger and relieves one of the painful symptoms, it helps in reducing the number of hospital readmissions and hospital stays. This leads to lowered stress and saving of cost. 
  • Since a large number of patients with cardiac issues suffer from co-morbid conditions like arthritis, back pains, diabetes, etc., physiotherapy helps in managing the symptoms of these issues as well.
  • Physiotherapy has a good impact on better sleep patterns since it induces relaxation.
  • It makes a person look fitter and healthier and this has a direct impact on her/his positivity and happiness. 
  • Physiotherapy has proved to be critical in reducing mortality.

what are the different phases of cardiac rehabilitation?

There are four cardiac rehabilitation phases that a patient needs to undergo to enjoy good heart health. These phases include:

  • Phase 1: The acute phase- This starts immediately, sometimes even on the same day after your surgery in the ICU, when the physiotherapist starts working with you to help you regain your mobility. This phase includes:
  • Assess the level of your mobility and design a safe exercise program to improve your cardiac fitness.
  • Address the risk factors.
  • Prescribe assistive devices, if required, like a cane or walker to help you move around safely.
  • Educate the patient and her/his family about the condition, risks associated, benefits, and the outlook.
  • Phase II: The subacute phase- This phase starts once you leave the hospital and lasts for usually three to six weeks. The aim here is to allow your safe return to mobility. This phase includes:
  • Monitoring your response to the exercise and activity like warm-up sessions, light cardio exercises, resistance training, and cool-down sessions.
  • Education about each exercise procedure and risk factors.
  • Counselling on managing a healthy diet and a better lifestyle that involves low stress.
  • Training the patient on how to self-monitor heart rate and the levels of exertion during exercise. 

how does physiotherapy help in cardiac rehabilitation?

  • Phase III: Intensive outpatient therapy: This involves making a patient more independent and giving her/him the tools to manage their heart health. This includes:
  • Training on how to manage your symptoms, heart rate, blood pressure levels, medications, and other requirements.
  • Phase IV: Maintenance: After a patient has participated in the last three phases, the last phase is about independent on-going conditioning. This involves:
  • Continuing to follow the cardiac rehabilitation guidelines that you have learned in the last phases regarding exercise, activity, lifestyle, nutrition, etc. to enjoy good heart health.
  • Being in regular touch with your doctor and physiotherapist to avoid any flare-ups in your condition.

which exercises help in cardiac rehabilitation?

What exercises are done in cardiac rehab’ is a common question and certainly an important one too. Since cardiac disorders are delicate, complex, and critical in nature, it is important to start your exercise program under supervision so as to avoid any risks and to alleviate the symptoms and problems. 

A patient is likely to do these three main types of exercises:

  1. Flexibility exercises: These exercises give your muscles the necessary stretch and improve their strength, flexibility, and balance. These include stretching exercises, yoga, pilates, forward bends, tai chi, etc. 
  2. Strength training: Strength training, by making your muscles make repetitive movements, make your muscles strong, more toned, and help in controlling your weight. They also help in bettering bone health. This includes lifting weights, using resistance tubes, and bands. 
  3. Cardiovascular ‘Cardio” exercises: Since these exercises let your body use more oxygen that has a direct impact on the health of your heart, the benefits of these include lower blood pressure levels, lower heart rate, and better breathing. These exercises include brisk walking, low-impact water aerobics, biking, light jogging, etc. 

what is the role of a physiotherapist in cardiac rehabilitation?

A trained and experienced physiotherapist plays a central role in cardiac rehabilitation physiotherapy exercises. The involvement of a therapist has several important benefits including:

  • It ensures compliance by the patients by helping them remain consistent in the physiotherapy program.
  • The therapist will conduct a thorough assessment of your condition based on your age, the severity of the condition, and your medicals reports and design a customised plan for you. This helps patients in healing faster. 
  • Having a physiotherapist who develops an outcome-based therapy programme is more beneficial as compared to self-developed programmes.
  • The presence of a physiotherapist eases the transition of a patient from the hospital to her/his home during the various phases of physiotherapy.
  • The therapist educates you about each exercise and assesses your comfortability levels with each of them. 
  • She/he will begin the exercise program keeping in mind your health condition and the risk factors. This ensures your safety to a great extent.
  • Having a therapist relieves your caregivers who may or may not be trained in physiotherapy and undergoing stress while trying to manage your treatment.

how can portea help you?

Portea is known for delivering world-class medical care at home making it affordable and accessible. We offer healthcare services like lab testing, medical equipment rentals, and doctor consultation, for a wide range of issues. One of the most important services includes physiotherapy at home for cardiac rehabilitation. 

Some of the benefits that we bring to you include:

  • Portea offers one-stop solutions for all your physiotherapy needs. What’s more, therapy plans are tailor-made for each patient depending on her/his specific needs.
  • All our therapists are trained, professional, and experienced. They are selected only after rigorous screening procedures. By this, you are assured of the best possible medical care for yourself.
  • They are trained in the latest techniques of physiotherapy like electrotherapy, hydrotherapy, biomechanics, manual therapy, etc. to help you heal faster. 
  • The therapists educate the patients about the risk factors associated with every type of exercise so that the patients do not suffer injuries or over-exertion and avoid worsening their symptoms and health. 
  • By taking physiotherapy services from Portea you are assured of consistent care that is not possible when one self-designs exercise programs. 
  • You have the advantage of healing right in the comfort of your home. You don’t have to spend time travelling, risk injuries due to falls, and save the cost of travel.
  • Our physiotherapy plans have been found to be almost 25-30 percent cheaper as compared to when you avail them at hospitals and clinics. This is especially beneficial in the case of cardiac rehabilitation when the need for physiotherapy is often lifelong.
  • Our therapists not only help you with exercises for better cardiac health, but they are also trained to advise you on lifestyle management, postural education, and stress management.
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