Individuals with heart conditions should ask their physician about the program at Faith Community Hospital.

Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a heart attack. For those fortunate enough to survive their first heart attack, lifestyle changes and a specialized rehabilitation program are important ways to recover cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of a second episode.

Cardiovascular disease takes many forms, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure; and it continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for one in every four deaths.

Heart disease is always a serious topic and ignoring symptoms or recovery techniques can have a lasting impact on your overall health. Once individuals realize that they are not indestructible, they tend to pay more attention to their health and follow the advice of their physicians.

Common among both men and women, the symptoms of heart disease often depend on the type of condition. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of regular exercise are all deadly elements that can contribute to complications.

One of the ways to understand your risk of cardiovascular disease is to talk with your primary care provider about your family history as well as your current health status.

Your medical provider will complete a thorough physical exam of your weight, blood pressure and cardiovascular fitness to help identify possible complications. Based on your medical history and current condition, a healthcare provider can advise whether you might benefit from an electrocardiogram, a test that allows providers to take a closer look at your heart.

Those fortunate enough to survive a heart attack or stroke often require a specialized rehabilitation program in a controlled setting so that they can regain their cardiovascular strength. The cardiac rehabilitation program at FCH provides a convenient setting in which to talk with professionals who understand how you are feeling.

The comprehensive program integrates education, counseling, and medical tests to develop a treatment plan that helps patients safely improve their physical fitness while reducing cardiac symptoms.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have participated in a cardiac rehab program were more likely to avoid subsequent heart attacks compared to those who did not participate in a program or only attended a few times. In the CDC study, the rate of heart attack was consistently lower among individuals who participated in more than 24 sessions and highest among those who participated fewer than 12 sessions.

Though the cardiac rehab program is personalized for patients, based on their condition, they typically attend three sessions a week for 12 weeks. Exercise programs are conducted under carefully monitored conditions to ensure that a safe increase in strength is developed.

Easing into activities that do not overstimulate the heart is important to recovery. Overexerting can cause physical harm, but underperforming can prevent the body from successfully healing.

As with one’s approach to general exercise, working your way up is always the best bet. Building your capability over time is the safest way to gain cardiovascular strength.

Medicare and most private insurance plans cover all or part of cardiac rehab programs. Patients typically qualify if their medical history or condition includes a heart attack, congestive heart failure or heart surgery to name a few.

For more information about cardiovascular disease and whether the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at FCHS is right for you, talk with your cardiologist or primary care provider. You may also call the 940-216-2258 or visit