Cardiovascular disease and heart attacks claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year in the United States, which is why keeping your heart healthy is imperative as you get older. Diet and exercise can work to keep your heart strong, but so can a team of dedicated physical therapists through cardiac physical therapy. Below, we take a closer look at who could benefit from cardiac physical therapy and how the technique can help to improve your heart health.
Who Is A Candidate For Cardiac Physical Therapy?
Anyone who has experienced a heart condition, is at risk for a heart issue or who has undergone certain types of cardiovascular procedures could benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac physical therapy can help you become stronger after:
- Heart attack
- Heart valve surgery
- Stent placement
- Coronary artery bypass
It can also be helpful for patients with conditions that could be improved by strengthening their heart, like patients with high blood pressure, atherosclerosis or other forms of heart disease.
The Goals Of Cardiac Physical Therapy
The main focus of cardiac physical therapy is to carefully work to improve both your cardiovascular health and your overall quality of life. This is done by slowly strengthening your heart without overloading it in the process. Similarly to how you slowly build up your distance when training for a marathon, your physical therapist will slowly help your heart become stronger until both you and your team are happy with your progress.
Oftentimes cardiac rehab programs last a few months, but your specific program will be tailored to your situation and your needs. During the course of your rehab, your cardiac physical therapist will cover a number of different techniques that are designed to help reduce your risk of a cardiovascular event. For example, they might:
- Guide You Through A Physical Program – A physical therapist will work to strengthen your heart through some physical and aerobic activities. They will match the activity to your abilities and slowly increase what they ask of you as your heart and your body becomes stronger.
- Discuss Lifestyle Habits – Your physical therapist will also talk with you about lifestyle habits that can contribute to a stronger heart, and they can make you aware of some lifestyle choices that could be detrimental to your heart health. They’ll cover topics like nutrition, exercise, tobacco and alcohol use and more.
- Stress Management – Cardiovascular events can also be brought on by stress, so a good cardiac physical therapist will also help you find ways to reduce or eliminate stress in your life. If it’s hard to eliminate stress from your life, we’ll work with you to find some safe techniques for managing and alleviating stress when it develops.
- Long-Term Activity Goals – Finally, the goal of a cardiac rehab program is to eventually help patients get to a point where they no longer need to visit our team in person because they’ve made so much progress. That said, you shouldn’t just quit therapy and go back to your old habits, otherwise your heart health will suffer. We want to give you the tools you need so that you can continue to improve your heart health even when you’re no longer coming into the clinic.
If you’re dealing with a cardiovascular issue or have been told that you are at risk for a heart attack, be proactive and work to strengthen your heart through a PT-guided cardiovascular program. For more information, or for help with your heart issue, reach out to our team today at (612) 339-2041.
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