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According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease remains the number one killer for men and women. With this statistic, it is not a shock when patients share they are fearful after being diagnosed with heart disease or have suffered a cardiac event. A cardiopulmonary rehabilitation specialist says participating in rehabilitation and remembering three important facts are the keys to coping following a cardiac event.

Cardiac rehab services patients that have or have had chronic heart failure, stable angina, left ventricular assist device implant (LVAD), heart transplant, stint placement, valve surgery, heart attack or bypass surgery. Loma Linda University International Heart Institute’s rehabilitation program offers counseling and training, education and stress reduction.

Randy Scott, director of cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, says that even with all the center has to offer, engagement is key to long-term heart benefits.

“Cardiac rehab is a way of life,” Scott says. “To make sure a patient has a fruitful life following an event or diagnosis, they have to make sure they are engaged in all rehab has to offer.”

The second part to coping and surviving past a cardiac event or diagnosis is knowing what to expect after a cardiac event. Scott shares three important facts to remember:

  1. Understand life is now altered. Scott says to not be afraid but understand life has to be done differently post diagnosis or event. He advises patients to maintain great communication with doctors, implement life changes and seek help.  
  2. There is help for depression. After a diagnosis or event, sadness may set in that can develop into depression. Scott says the first way to combat that is by joining rehab which will encourage a patient and show them how to do life. Coming to rehab also will reduce the fear a patient will naturally have after a cardiac event. The program also refers patients to mental health therapy services should they need more support.
  3. There is life after a heart event. Some people can go back to a fairly normal life after a transplant or a cardiac stint, Scott says. He and his team can improve the life of each patient so it is maximized for each individual. Having the best life post diagnosis and event means eating better, lowering stress and improving cardiac function by doing exercise.

Scott advises patients that have undergone a cardiac event to enroll in the rehabilitation program as soon as possible. If you or someone you know can benefit from the resources offered in the program please visit the website for more information or call 1-800-468-5432.