This week (February 13th – 19th) is National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week. It’s a time to celebrate the many successes of the Cardiac Rehabilitation program at Frederick Memorial Hospital (we see about 150 patients each week – all on their way to improved heart health), and for each of us to take a good, hard look at our own cardiac health.
Cardiac Rehabilitation is a medically-supervised program designed to help patients with known cardiac issues improve their physical, psychological and social function. Patients in the program come to the hospital’s Cardiac Rehab Gym to work out three times a week. During their workouts, each patient’s cardiac activity is monitored to ensure a safe exercise experience. The program also includes classes that teach patients new heart-healthy habits.
Living a longer, healthier, happier life is a great motivator for our patients, but a new policy statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) provides another good reason for all of us to focus on our cardiac health. According to the AHA, the cost of treating heart disease and stroke is expected to triple in the next two decades to a staggering $818 billion.
Most of that increase comes from the fact that we’re simply living longer lives these days, but our goal should be to stay healthy longer – and that means starting now.
You can prevent heart disease and stroke (and help lower the cost of caring for cardiovascular disease) by:
- Quitting smoking
- Lowering cholesterol
- Controlling high blood pressure
- Maintaining a healthy weight
Today, 36.9% of Americans have some type of heart disease ranging from high blood pressure to stroke and heart failure. Many of us know that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, but with a little work many of these deaths could be prevented.
Quitting smoking is one of the hardest items on the list. It’s even more challenging when you try to go it alone and quit “cold turkey.” When you quit, try using substitutes like nicotine gum or ask your doctor about a prescription. Or simply find other ways to manage your stress like listening to music, getting a message, or yoga.
If you want some support, there are several options out there. FMH hosts a Smoking Cessation Program that features group classes and support. If you prefer, the Frederick County Health Department hosts “Stop Smoking for Life” classes. No matter what method you choose, it’s important to tell yourself why you’re quitting, set a date and make it happen.