Cardiac Rehab is Underutilized


Heart disease tops the list of chronic diseases resulting from aging.  It is one of the most under-diagnosed diseases in women, with more women dying from heart disease than breast cancer. By age forty, one in two individuals is diagnosed with high blood pressure which contributes to heart disease. 

Other risk factors include high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle.  A healthy heart benefits the body in more ways than you might imagine.

So why after major heart surgery is rehabilitation not always recommended for individuals who would benefit from disease management programs and cardiac rehab?  Individuals having a hip replacement or experiencing a stroke may recognize the benefits of physical rehabilitation which is almost always recommended. 

But cardiac rehab is not as frequently discussed with heart patients. Recommendations typically come from physicians and are influenced by physical therapists, nurses, case managers, and others.  This is one area where those with influence can and should do a better job of making the recommendation for cardiac rehab.

This is also an area where consumers must know what questions to ask to advocate for care.  Cardiac rehab is designed to reduce the risk of further heart damage while an individual returns to life as normal as possible.  It includes heart-strengthening exercise in addition to nutrition and stress counseling and social support. 

Research indicates that the degree to which a physician recommends cardiac rehab affects the degree to which patients will participate in the program. Medicare and most private insurance pay for rehabilitative therapies. 

Disease management programs educate about the risks of heart disease.  Evidence shows that cardiac rehab can reduce the risk of death from a second heart attack by as much as thirty percent. 

Spread the news by discussing the benefits of cardiac rehab with others and if you have heart disease or any chronic health condition, ask your physician about disease management programs and rehabilitative therapy.

Reference:  Brink, Susan.  Few patients get cardiac rehab care. Denver post 11/5/07 p 5F.

©2012, 2013, 2022 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved

Return to the Dangers of Ignorance Category Page

Return to All Category Page

Check Out The Caring Generation Podcasts for More Answers to Questions Caregivers Ask

the Caring Generation Podcasts

Looking for a Roadmap to Care for Aging Parents? Check out Pamela’s Online Course

Can’t find what you are looking for? Search by Subject

Check out Videos on Pamela’s YouTube Channel


Pamela's YouTube Channel

Pin It on Pinterest