Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs Increase Survival Chances Following a Heart Attack

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Mid-adult man clutching his chest in pain with a possible heart attack. He wears a blue, button down dress shirt. Heart disease.

Recently, a new study, whose findings appear in the “Journal of the American Heart Association, looks at the effectiveness of joining a cardiac rehabilitation program offered by health experts and care teams to patients who have experienced a heart attack.

More precisely, the researchers looked at whether joining such offered programs can help people follow a strict diet and lifestyle in order to raise survival chances and concluded that such programs do encourage patients to switch to a healthier lifestyle.

Currently, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States as well as elsewhere in the world. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, heart-related conditions are responsible for over seventeen million deaths every year worldwide.

The conditions that fall under the category primarily target the blood vessels and the heart. A number of issues can occur in people with heart issues ranging from rheumatic heart disease, atrial fibrillation and cerebrovascular disease to coronary heart disease.

Since the majority of the aforementioned heart diseases are difficult to treat and may cause life-threatening situations, health experts recommend taking preventive measures to avoid getting them in the first place.

The key to doing so is following a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and exercise as well as keeping all the risk factors and symptoms of a heart-related condition in mind.

People who are at high risk of developing heart disease or experiencing a cardiovascular event include those who have high blood pressure, lipid profile, and cholesterol levels. Additionally, they may also have other issues such as obesity and diabetes.

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Upon diagnosis, seeking appropriate medical attention and starting treatment is fundamental. Failure to do so, especially in people who are at high risk, can result in a stroke or heart attack, both of which are the cause of death in four out of five cases of deaths due to heart disease.

In addition, people who have had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack before, the risk remains high. Therefore, they are suggested to follow precautionary measures even after recovery and discharge from the hospital.

Many times, the healthcare team also offers the aforementioned cardiac rehabilitation programs in such situations. Now, the new research examines how useful can such post-attack steps be for patients.

To do so, the researchers from Kaiser Permanente Northern California looked at data of over twenty-five thousand people who had been discharged a month after having a heart attack.

The team specifically looked at factors such as the different types of medicines the people took, whether they experienced issues such as high blood pressure, and their lifestyle habits such as smoking.

After the examination, it was discovered that following one of the recommended guidelines led to an 8-11 percent decrease in the risk of death. Secondly, patients who followed all instructions had thirty-nine percent to forty-three percent lower chances of death overall.

These findings not only highlight the effectiveness of cardiac rehabilitation programs following a heart attack and other cardiac events but also emphasizes the importance of strictly following after-care instructions.

The leading author of the study, Dr. Matthew D. Solomon concludes the research in the words:

“People often think they are ‘fixed’ after they are treated for a heart attack. But our findings show that following all the recommended treatments after a heart attack is critical to long-term health and wellness. Doctors and patients must work to ensure every single evidence-based recommendation is followed. Following ‘most’ of the recommended treatments is not enough.”

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