FCHS recovery program offers heart attack patients the opportunity to regain health and strength

About 700,000 Americans die of a heart attack every year making cardiovascular disease the leading cause of death in this country.  While 90% of those who suffer a heart attack recover from it, many remain at risk for a second cardiovascular event, about 1 in 5 in fact, according to American Heart Association statistics.

But for those fortunate enough to survive their first heart attack, important lifestyle changes, and a specialized rehabilitation program are important ways to recover cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of a heart attack striking again.

“Heart attacks often result from certain conditions that involve our health,” said Cara Epps, Director of Respiratory Therapy. “Risk factors normally include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, lack of exercise, high levels of stress and a diet devoid of healthy foods,” she added. “Smoking is also a risk factor,” Epps went on. “About 14% of Americans smoke.”

“Once these qualifying conditions result in cardiac arrest it becomes a serious situation,” said Cara. “That is why cardiac rehabilitation programs, like the one here in Jacksboro, along with major lifestyle changes, can help reduce the chances of future heart attacks while improving cardiovascular health.”

Cardiovascular disease takes many forms, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke, or high blood pressure. Once you understand more about cardiovascular disease and how it can affect your health, you are on the road to taking the measures needed to prevent or reduce the severity of high blood pressure, heart attacks, or stroke.

The Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at FCHS helps patients recovering from a heart attack and cardiac surgery by providing instruction in exercise, counseling services, and education to improve lifestyle choices. The FCHS programs runs for about 12 weeks with patients attending three sessions per week.  A personalized program is designed for each patient based on their particular condition. During the twelve-week process, diet and physical exercise are hallmarks of the recovery program to make sure the heart is strengthened and a new healthier regimen is taught.  Exercise programs are monitored carefully to ensure that safety is paramount.

The Jacksboro based cardiac rehabilitation program provides a convenient setting where patients can talk with professionals who can guide them through the rehabilitation process.

To better understand your risk of cardiovascular disease, the FCHS medical team recommends that you talk with your primary care provider during your next wellness exam about your family’s medical history as well as your current health status.

Studies have shown that cardiac-related deaths can be reduced by as much as 30 percent when patients participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program and make lasting lifestyle changes.

Your medical provider will often recommend a recovery program following a heart-related event or surgery. Those who believe they may be at risk of heart disease are encouraged to talk with their medical provider.

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.

A referral by medical provider to the cardiac rehabilitation program is required. For more information about cardiovascular disease and whether the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program may benefit you, talk with your primary care provider.

“You may have heard the saying do your part, care for your heart,” said Epps.  “It is really instructive for living a healthy life and looking after perhaps the body’s most vital organ!”