Cardiac Rehabilitation – What it is and Who its for!

What’s Cardiac Rehabilitation all about?

If I told you that you could prevent yourself from suffering with severe heart problems like heart attack, chest pain and heart failure, you’d be interested to hear more, wouldn’t you? I’m sure you’d be interested if I also told you that Coronary Heart Disease and Heart Attack remain the two most common causes of death in Ireland. Well, the answer is in Cardiac Rehabilitation, one of the unique services we offer here at Flynn Medical Exercise.

To read more about our Rehabilitation Programmes, click here.

We’ve all heard the term rehabilitation before – it refers to the restoration of something to it’s previous healthy state. When we talk about Cardiac Rehabilitation, we are therefore referring to the restoration of your heart function and your fitness levels to a healthy/healthier state. In the national health system, you will be referred to a public Cardiac Rehabilitation programme after surviving a heart attack, undergoing heart surgery, or possible after less serious cardiac procedures like the insertion of a stent. However, engaging in a Cardiac Rehabilitation programme before any of these events occur can be extremely effective in preventing adverse cardiac events in the first place – and as we’ve also all heard before, Prevention is Better than Cure!

What’s involved in Cardiac Rehabilitation?

Exercise Stress Test

At the core of Cardiac Rehabilitation is safe, monitored, proscribed exercise. You need to exercise your heart to get it fit again, and there’s no short cut around that. Before engaging in an exercise programme though, we first carry out what’s called an Exercise Stress Test. This type of test typically takes place on a treadmill under safe, supervised conditions, and you complete an exercise protocol that steadily increases in intensity. These tests usually take between 15 and 25 minutes, and by the end you’ll be working hard! We use these tests to determine how hard your heart is able to work without putting you in danger, and we use that to guide our exercise prescription going forward.

Exercise Therapy

Following on from your exercise stress test, we now get to the hard work. From your results, your assessing clinician (i.e. physiotherapist or doctor) will determine a suitable target heart rate for you to aim for when exercising. It’s normally between 60% and 80% of your maximum heart rate but it depends on a number of factors, including your medical history. You will then commence  a regular exercise programme where you aim to maintain your heart rate in the target range. These exercises generally take place in a clinic under supervision so that your exercise session is effective, safe and completed in full.

Who would benefit from Cardiac Rehabilitation?

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you should consider engaging in a Cardiac Rehabilitation programme:

  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
  • Heart Surgery
  • Smoking
  • Experiencing Shortness of Breath
  • Chest Pain
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Overweight and/or Obesity
  • Recovering from Surgery i.e. Heart, Orthopaedic or Transplant surgery

At Flynn Medical Exercise, our prime specialisation is in personal rehabilitation programmes, like cardiac rehabilitation. We run private, effective, individualised programmes for people just like you to get you on the road to a healthier, happier, longer life. Call us to make an appointment for an assessment today: 0861546175, or to read more about our Rehabilitation Programmes, click here. 

Why not share this article on your Facebook or Twitter account so that someone who needs this type of care might see it! Thank you in advance!

Seán Flynn is the Senior Physiotherapist with Flynn Medical Exercise, and takes patients in their Sandyford clinic. For more information on starting a personalised rehabilitation programme, why not give us a call? PH: 0861546175

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