Health professionals and peers in a cardiac rehab program
can provide education to help you reduce your risk factors for heart disease.
You will receive instruction to help you:
Quitting smoking may be the most
important step you can take to prevent
coronary artery disease. After you quit smoking, you
lower your risk of coronary artery disease. Switching from cigarettes to cigars
or pipes will not improve your risk of heart disease. The best thing for your
heart is to quit using all tobacco products.
Reduce angina (chest pain or discomfort).
Education and counseling
can help you learn how to reduce episodes of angina (such as chest pain or discomfort). Angina occurs during activities that make the heart
work harder, such as climbing stairs, having sex, eating a large meal,
having emotional stress, or being exposed to cold. Other symptoms of angina include
shortness of breath, nausea, and a cold, sweaty feeling. Angina is often
relieved by rest and medicines.
Stay at a healthy weight.
Education combined with
exercise, diet, and support can help you stay at a healthy weight or lose
weight if you need to. If you need to lose weight, try not to feel overwhelmed.
Set small, attainable goals, and then get help to keep reaching those goals.
Losing even a small amount of weight can improve your overall health and reduce
your risk for further heart problems.
Lower high blood pressure.
You will receive tips on
lowering your high blood pressure through methods such as the
dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet.
When combined with exercise and stress management, dietary changes can help
lower your blood pressure.
You will get help improving your cholesterol through lifestyle changes and possibly medicine. Lifestyle
methods include the
Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes (TLC) program. The
lifestyle changes include diet, exercise, weight loss, and other changes like
quitting tobacco use. Your cardiac rehab team can also check on how you are
doing with taking cholesterol medicine. You will want to follow TLC even if you
are taking cholesterol-lowering medicine. Your medicine will be more effective
if you have healthy eating and exercise habits.
Improve emotional well-being.
The education and
support you receive in a cardiac rehab program can help you feel better about
yourself in your everyday life. Seeking help for depression, along with
managing any anxiety and anger you may have, can improve your quality of
Primary Medical Reviewer
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Richard D. Zorowitz, MD - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.