Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the BCHC marked American Heart Month in February
The Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at the Buchanan County Health Center marked American Heart Month in February and passed a milestone. In 2013, a total of 61 patients completed the program.
“We are busy!” said Deb Recker, RN BSN, Cardiac Rehab Nurse Manager. “It’s an effective and helpful program and I think that message has been passed from our patients into the community.”
Phase II Cardiac Rehabilitation is an outpatient program designed for those people who have had a recent heart event in their lives.
“When we say heart event, we mean a heart attack, angioplasty and stent placement, a valve replacement, coronary artery bypass grafting, or heart transplant.” Recker explained. “ We also provide this exercise program to people who have stable angina.”
After being referred by their physician, Recker meets with each patient to evaluate their overall health, medications and level of functioning. Patients then attend their monitored exercise program held three days a week at the Wellness Center. The program’s educational classes include diet, medications, stress reduction and resistance training, as well as cholesterol management. Medicare and most insurances do cover Cardiac Rehab.
In 2013, 70% of participating patients were male and 30% were female. 38% came to the program after a cardiac by-pass, 32% after a heart attack and 30% after a stent placement. 96% of patients had hypertension or high blood pressure which put them at risk for a heart event. Some 88% also had family history of heart disease and 93% had elevated cholesterol levels.
“From these numbers, we know that Buchanan County follows the national norm,” Recker said. “One of the best ways to reduce your risk of heart attack is to know your numbers. Keeping your blood pressure, your cholesterol levels, your weight, and if you are diabetic, your blood sugar, under control directly affects the health of your heart.”
According to the American Heart Association, a good goal for total cholesterol is less than 200 mg/dl; for triglycerides it is less than 150 mg/dl and for blood pressure it is 120/80 or lower. (see chart at right).
Another important factor is exercise- it is the “center of the wheel” when it comes to good heart health.
“The key is to not be intimidated and to continue what you have started.” Recker said. “When it comes to heart-health, trending is important. If you got zero minutes of walking exercise yesterday and you get a 10 minute walk in today, you are moving in the right direction. The key is to continue that 10 minute walk daily and increase the time by 2-5 minutes each week. That helps you develop a routine of daily exercise. Likewise, for every point you raise your HDL — that’s the ‘good’ cholesterol which increases with exercise,– you reduce your risk of coronary artery disease by 2 percent.”
For more information about the Cardiac Rehab Program, contact Deb Recker, Cardiac Rehab Nurse Manager, at 332-0922.
In photo: Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Manager Deb Recker speaks to Craig Maroney of Winthrop during an exercise session. The program recently marked American Heart Month in February.