The goal of Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, Feb. 14-20, is to raise awareness about the positive benefits of cardiac rehab programs. Cardiac rehab can reduce the potentially devastating effects of heart disease. After a serious cardiovascular event, eligible patients can enroll in a cardiac rehab program aimed at healing and recovery.
Bill Ernst, 79, was prescribed cardiac rehab after undergoing quadruple bypass heart surgery at Lake Regional Health System.
“Going to cardiac rehab was the best thing I ever did for my health,” said Ernst, who received cardiac rehab at Lake Regional Hospital. “At first, I was worried about going due to COVID-19, but the hospital is the safest place at the lake. The staff are totally awesome and do a great job keeping everyone safe –– and that goes for monitoring you on exercise equipment and for following COVID safety measures.”
Ernst received a structured exercise plan, along with medical supervision. As he exercised, nurses continuously monitored his heart rate and blood pressure. A doctor reviewed his performance and adjusted his plan as needed. In addition, Ernst received tips for eating better and managing stress, had he been a smoker, he would have received support to stop smoking.
Ernst credits the expert care he has received with improving his health.
“When I first got on the elliptical, the staff really helped me with getting started and continuing to make progress,” Ernst said. “Now, I have increased the level of difficulty, and my heart rate is lower. I have lost weight, and my blood pressure is lower. I feel better overall. My mind is clearer, and I have more energy. And thanks to the nutritional consultation, I’m doing a better job sticking with the Mediterranean diet my wife was already cooking.”
Scientific studies show that people who complete a cardiac rehab program can increase their life expectancy by up to five years. Other proven benefits of cardiac rehab include decreased chances for another heart attack; controlled heart disease symptoms; improved stamina and strength; improved well-being; and more.
The number of weeks patients stay in a cardiac rehab program depends on insurance coverage and the physician’s orders. Ernst was originally prescribed 36 sessions, but he has enjoyed the program so much, he chose to continue in the supervised maintenance exercise program.
“I really enjoy working out, and I realize now how important exercise is in leading a healthy lifestyle,” Ernst said. “Plus, the cardiac rehab team have become heroes to me, and I want to make them proud.”
Lake Regional’s cardiopulmonary program is certified by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. The program has three phases. Phase I, II and III services are available at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach. Phase II and III services also are available at Lake Regional’s Cardiac Rehab clinics in Eldon and Laurie. For more information, call 573.302.2280 or visit lakeregional.com/HeartCare.