In the past, patients who had infarction or bypass were taken to bed rest for up to a few months. These patients preferred a passive and sedentary life because they feared the recurrence of their heart disease. This inactivity brought with it consequences such as depression, introversion and social isolation, which negatively affected the quality of life of the person. But later on, it was observed that a sedentary life did not protect against secondary cardiac events, and patients who moved early adapted to their daily lives more easily and were less exposed to complications. Scientific studies conducted in this direction have shown that the main danger in these patients is not movement but inactivity, and controlled exercises have very positive effects on heart health. Parallel to these developments, the concept of exercise-based cardiac rehabilitation after cardiac patients was born.

What is Cardiac Rehabilitation?

By definition, cardiac rehabilitation is all of the procedures applied with the aim of reaching maximal physical, psychological and functional capacity of people with cardiovascular disease. Today, the importance of cardiac rehabilitation in developed western countries has been understood and is widely applied. In some countries, cardiac rehabilitation has become mandatory after bypass surgery. With the encouragement of the Ministry of Health in our country, the importance of this issue is increasingly understood.

In Which Patients Is It Applied?

Cardiac rehabilitation is applied in many cardiac conditions and diseases such as people with coronary artery disease, myocardial infarction, after coronary artery bypass surgery, in the presence of heart failure and hypertension, after pacemaker, heart valve diseases, and after heart transplantation.

What is the purpose of cardiac rehabilitation?

Cardiac rehabilitation aims to enable the patient, who is physically, mentally and socially restricted due to heart disease or surgery, to return to his/her work and social life, to improve his/her functional level, to provide symptomatic recovery, to relieve the patient’s anxiety and depression, to return to his/her social life, and to prolong the patient’s life span.

Scientific studies have shown that cardiac rehabilitation programs reduce mortality rates due to heart diseases and the risk of second infarction by up to 30%.

How is exercise applied in heart patients?

The patient to be included in the cardiac rehabilitation program is carefully evaluated by the cardiologist. The cardiac status of these patients is determined by low-level exertion ECG. According to the risk situation, a personalized exercise program is determined by the physical therapist. Patients are included in a program of exercises that increase breathing, posture, relaxation and mild muscle strength, as well as aerobic exercises performed at a heart rate determined individually. Patients usually continue this program every other day for a month or two. Aerobic exercises are performed with computer-controlled, very advanced exercise devices that have been developed for this purpose and monitor the patient’s ECG, heart rhythm, blood oxygen level and blood pressure. With these devices, the development of the person between the pre-treatment and the end of the treatment can be shown in great detail.

What are the gains with cardiac rehabilitation?

Increase in general condition, decrease in heart rate at the same workload, decrease in blood pressure, increase in heart muscle contraction strength, increase in oxygen consumption and exercise capacity, increase in cardiac muscle circulation, decrease in body fat ratio, decrease in blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, decrease in atherosclerosis, improvement in psychological state is provided.

All research supports that exercise is actually the best and most natural medicine for the heart. Controlled exercise program makes a significant improvement in almost all parameters of heart disease. And most importantly, it significantly reduces the risk of disability and death. With a cardiac rehabilitation program, people with heart disease can be saved from isolation, social withdrawal and activity restriction. In this way, it is possible to enable heart patients to rejoin life and to extend their life expectancy in a better quality way. For this reason, we recommend that heart patients should not be afraid of exercise and should definitely be included in this type of program.

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