The Regional Health Services of Howard County Cardiac Rehabilitation Program is designed to help those who want to reduce the risk of heart disease. This includes those who are prone to heart disease, who have already been diagnosed with heart disease, or who have been treated for heart disease either with medication or surgery.
Understanding your heart disease is a major component of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program. Various educational sessions are designed to assist you in this understanding and to help you make the necessary lifestyle adjustments needed to return to important life activities as quickly and as safely as possible.
- Educational topics covered include:
- anatomy and physiology;
- risk factor modification;
- nutrition and weight control;
- stress reduction and relaxation;
Goals for the program are to help you:
- Understand heart disease;
- Reduce the risk factors associated with heart disease;
- Learn to recognize angina and respond appropriately;
- Understand the purpose of heart medications, how to take them, and possible side effects;
- Return you to important life activities as quickly and safely as possible.
Individualized exercise sessions are another major component of cardiac rehabilitation. When beginning cardiac rehabilitation, an individualized exercise prescription is developed specifically for you. This prescription is written based on the results of a physician supervised stress test done either on a treadmill or an exercise bicycle. The exercise sessions are scheduled for two or three days per week and last approximately 45 to 60 minutes each.
The session includes flexibility exercises, strengthening exercises, and aerobic exercises. Your heart rate, blood pressure, and heart rhythm will be monitored throughout each exercise session. A registered nurse supervises exercise sessions with an evaluation by a physical therapist. Appropriate exercise has shown to have positive effects on improving cholesterol levels, aiding weight control, lowering blood pressure, and improving the capacity for activity.
In addition to the education and exercise sessions, you will meet people who have had experiences similar to yours. Many people who have been diagnosed with heart disease experience fear, depression, anger, confusion, as well as multiple physical problems. Our staff, as well as fellow clients, will help you deal with these issues. It is important to remember that people do survive heart attacks, leave the hospital, and reconstruct their lives. With help and hard work, you too can experience a normal lifestyle.
Exercise Stress Testing: An exercise stress test is also called a stress electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG). It records your heart rhythm while you walk on a treadmill or ride a stationary bike while working toward a target heart rate. This test helps your doctor evaluate the way your heart is functioning and the risk of a heart attack. It also measures the strength of your heart after a heart attack or surgery. Cardiac stress testing measures the strength of your heart, not your athletic ability. All the data from the stress test, such a blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm and pulse are reviewed. Stress tests are closely monitored by a physician, Dr. Paul Jensen, registered nurse, Jenny Schriever; and certified respiratory therapist, Janine Mayer.
Regional Health Services has updated its Cardiac Rehabilitation Department with the purchase of all new cardiac exercise stress testing equipment: two new treadmills and a computer console. A new flat screen television VCR/DVD player have also been installed for patients to use for education and entertainment while exercising.
Janine Mayer, CRT, Dr. Paul Jensen, & Jenny Schriever, RN
Dr. Jensen tested the new equipment out on himself. Small pads (electrodes) were placed on his upper body to monitor heart rhythm. Heartbeat and blood pressure are closely monitored during and after the test. In order to reach his target heart rate, the treadmill “cycled” several times to higher elevations/grades, making the workout more difficult. With the updated computer technology now available, a dictated report is no longer necessary. The computer prints out detailed information from the test, and a copy is kept in the patient’s medical record at Regional Health Services. If needed, this report will be sent on to the client’s cardiologist.
If you would like more information concerning the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program or Exercise Stress Testing at Regional Health Services of Howard County, please contact us at 563-547-2101 and ask for Cardiac Rehabilitation.