(ABC) -People who undergo heart surgery or suffer a cardiac event are typically prescribed a cardiac rehabilitation program as part of their recovery process, but less than 13 percent of those who are eligible to participate actually do.
According to Cleveland Clinic cardiologist Dr. Leslie Cho, cardiac rehab is one of the best things that heart patients can do to improve their odds of survival as well as their quality of life.
"We actually put you on a treadmill, design an exercise program, you exercise in a hospital, with an exercise physiologist, with nurses and doctors and we gradually build up your exercise capacity," Dr. Cho said.
Cardiac rehab is a 12-week program that is suited to each person's functional capacity. Patients will typically exercise three days per week for about an hour each day, in addition to meeting with a nutritionist. And most cardiac rehab is paid for by insurance after you've had a heart event or a surgery. Dr. Cho says multiple studies have shown that patients who do cardiac rehab actually live longer, have fewer heart attacks and less need for repeat hospitalization. She urges people who don't think it's worth their time to give it a try, because it's a lifesaving and life altering therapy.
"It's really crucial because it's not just exercising, it's about learning how to eat, learning to stop smoking, controlling your stress factors; it's really a crucial part of having a healthy life after your heart event," Dr. Cho said.
Dr. Cho also recommends making regular physical activity a lifelong habit by exercising three to five times a week after their cardiac rehab is complete.
Cardiac rehab is available to heart patients right in Southwest Oklahoma at Comanche County Memorial Hospital. For more information about the program, call 580-585-5424.
In other health news, be sure to mark your calendar for the free skin cancer screenings at the Leah M. Fitch Cancer Center in Lawton. It will be held on Saturday, May 14, from 8 a.m. until noon. To schedule an appointment, call 580-250-6565.