Cardiac Rehabilitation Programs

Cardiac rehabilitation programs help people to develop a lifestyle that will not only get them back to living a normal life, but reduce their risk of having problems in the future. These services may include diet plans, exercise plans, counseling for the elimination of smoking or drinking, and learning techniques to lower stress. Understanding the risk factors of heart disease as well as the other diseases this problem can cause is as important as the management of lifestyle in order to reduce further instance. If other diseases or conditions are contributing to a persons risk or have developed due to the onset of heart disease, cardiac rehab programs can aid in successful management.

Finding a program that seems to understand all the aspects of a persons unique situation is important to overall management. If a heart condition is not the only problem then related problems need to be treated as well. In addition, all aspects of physical and occupational therapy must be addressed. The administration of medication and recommendation of surgery should only be done by certified cardiac professionals. It is one thing to make a suggestion and a whole other thing to request drastic treatment; however, even the best doctor can be wrong so personal knowledge of up-to-date medical information as well as the understanding of ones body is crucial to making the final decision concerning drastic measures such as surgery and medication. Likewise, if a doctor suggests a person is fighting a losing battle or some discrepancy is found, searching for another doctor is required. The goal should be total possible recovery. In some instances total recovery is impossible due to the complete destruction of tissue caused by previous strokes or heart attacks.

Some services offered include proper nutrition counseling, detailed plans to reduce high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes. Cardiac rehabilitation programs also include getting a patient back where they previously were in terms of work and home functions. These include eating, dressing oneself, and mental concentration in order to perform on the job. In addition the elimination of drinking and smoking problems as well as the introduction or increase of physical activity will aid anyone in sustaining a healthier life. Any effort in obtaining and sustaining a healthier life will decrease disease, infection, and illness, which in turn offers a more enjoyable life. All this sounds good, but can be very wearing on the nerves and overall mental capacity. Cardiac rehab programs also offer emotional support during these major life changes. Additionally, if a person believes in the treatment then a positive view of the actions and outcome will further move a person toward success. "An evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth he shall rise up no more." (Psalm 41:8)

This type of program may even be offered at the hospital making the transition from serious injury to a road to recovery much smoother. However, these cardiac rehabilitation programs tend to not have special equipment or resources required by some individuals. Outside sources focusing on the entire recovery may sometimes be more beneficial depending on the severity and uniqueness of the situation. In addition, some hospitals offer treatment starting in the hospital room with continuation in another area of the hospital for further treatment. Talking with the insurance company before any decision is made concerning treatment will aid in maximizing the dollar spent on continued care. Beware of the quality of the honored cardiac rehab programs from the insurance company; if the quality of the program is poor than it may be better to spend the money to get better care. Poor cardiac rehab programs can lead to continued health problems, which include more cost due to increased treatments and tests. The goals of all cardiac rehabilitation programs include strength conditioning, prevention, and getting back to a normal physical life. There are four main parts in any program: medical evaluation, implementation of physical activity, lifestyle education, and support. What this means is that past medical occurrences, possibility of future disease based on genetics and previous lifestyle choices, and good or bad habits need to be evaluated. Formulating a plan for these changes is key in the success of lowering risk for heart dysfunction. Support is important for the hard lifestyle changes that may be necessary in making a significant improvement in the life of any heart disease sufferer. Emotions may be elevated due to the dramatic changes to life when mortality issues are at hand. No matter whether a person is old or young, mildly impaired or significantly damaged, cardiac rehab programs can help. If a patient is older, careful monitoring is necessary for successful and safe treatment.

People who benefit include those who have a history of heart attack, coronary artery disease, heart failure, peripheral arterial disease, chest pain, cardiomyopathy, or basically any type of heart problem. Some programs have specific time frames they work with, while others offer continued care throughout the rest of a persons life. Generally cardiac rehabilitation programs include cardiologists, nurse educators, dietitians, exercise rehabilitation specialists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists and psychiatrists. With a good team like this, successful management of any condition is possible. There are two types of treatment: early treatment and ongoing treatment. Most of the efforts during treatment will be complete lifestyle changes, therefore needing continual support and education. Without continued care, a person may end up slipping back into old habits and worsening health that was accomplished by the early efforts of treatment.

Minor Stroke Therapy

Minor stroke therapy is dependent upon the damage done to nerve tissue in the brain and the location of the attack but may involve teaching basic skills so as to perform tasks such as eating, dressing, walking, and talking. There are basically four different areas of the brain where an attack can happen. These include the right-hemisphere, left-hemisphere, the cerebellum, and the brain stem. An ischemic stroke is where the blood vessels become obstructed or constricted and causes interference with the blood supply to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is where a blood vessel ruptures or bleeds. When this happens nerve tissue dies or becomes damaged thus affecting the area that the brain controls. A disability may result depending upon the location and the extent of the damage. Stroke rehab helps a person who has suffered from a TIA (mini-stroke) by teaching them how to recover what has been lost. Some of the risks factors that can lead to an attack include hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, migraine, smoking, hardening of the arteries, and heart disease.

Effects of transient ischemic attacks can leave a person in a confused state to the point that he or she may feel intimidated and afraid of others. Stroke may affect a person's abilities to perform everyday tasks, comprehend and carry on successful conversations, limit his or her ability to use motor skills, and prevent the victim from basic interaction with others. Depression is not uncommon for people that are having difficulties coping with the changes that can occur after a TIA. Minor stroke therapy helps a person learn how to cope with feelings of sadness and other emotions. Some of the things that can help someone cope with emotions is to spend time with family and friends, staying as active as possible, and finding a hobby of some sort for alone times.

A TIA originating in the right-hemisphere of the brain affects the left side of the body. This can affect spatial and perception to the point that judgment can be impaired. In addition, behavior changes can affect a person's perception regarding his or her own limitations. Other impairments may include memory loss and visual field changes to the point that a person may not see people or objects on his or her left side. Stroke rehab can help a person learn how to recognize their own limitations so that he or she doesn't take unnecessary risks, such as driving, when they really are not able to safely do so.

A transient ischemic attack occurring on the left side of the brain affects the movement on the right side of the body. In addition, speech, language, memory, and cognition can all be affected. Paralysis can occur on the right side of the body as well. A minor stroke may only affect one aspect of speech or language to the point that a person may not be able to put words together properly to make complete sentences that make sense or may have trouble with certain sounds and pronunciation. Minor stroke therapy will help to teach and train a person to complete sentences and remember sounds. Another thing that may occur with TIA victims is difficulty in understanding what other people are saying. Rehabilitation with a speech and language therapist will concentrate in those areas where the patient is having difficulty. Some of the ways this is done is by using photographs and maps as illustrations, drawing objects on paper, using symbols and pictures, while associating sounds with the illustrations.

The cerebellum controls reflexes, balance, and coordination. Balance problems, dizziness, nausea, and abnormal reflexes can result when stroke originates in the cerebellum. Stroke rehab can help the patient regain some coordination after a TIA by helping the patient to learn to walk with assisted equipment such as a walker or a cane. Eventually a person may be able to regain all mobility and walk without assistance. The recovery is going to depend upon the extent of the damage and the strength of the patient. Look to Jesus for strength and healing after suffering from a stroke. "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." (Matthew 4:23)

The brain stem controls major systems in the body including life support functions such as breathing, blood pressure, and heartbeat. Motor functions such as eye movement, hearing, speech, and even swallowing are also controlled by the brain stem. Patients who suffer an attack located in the brain stem may have paralysis in both sides of the body. A TIA in this area can cause some serious problems especially when breathing, heartbeat, and blood pressure are affected. Losing the ability to swallow can mean that a person loses the ability to eat and may have to be fed intravenously. Stroke rehab helps to determine the extent of the damage and reverse it if possible.

Some of the most important symptoms to be aware of with a transient ischemic attack are numbness, tingling, double or blurry vision, difficulty speaking, and difficulty understanding others, dizziness, difficulty walking, and not being able to move. When experiencing any of these symptoms it is very important to get to a doctor or the hospital as soon as possible. The earlier a person can get treatment the less likelihood of permanent damage. Minor stroke therapy will help to prevent future attacks with the help of medication and other successful treatment.

Important things to do to keep strokes from happening include keeping blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar under control, eating healthy, exercising regularly, losing weight if this is a problem, and stop smoking. Alcohol can increase a person's risk of stroke so limiting drinks to no more than two per day is necessary. As a person ages, risks are higher for suffering with a TIA but regular check ups and listening to a doctor can help to lower those risks.

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