Many of us hear the term ‘physical therapy’ and typically our brains go to post-surgical
rehabilitation or patients rehabbing from neurological events. However, another population that
requires rehabilitation on a routine basis are patients suffering from cardiovascular
complications. Take a look at these remarkable and alarming statistics:
➢ Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, not just in the United States, but
in the entire world.
➢ According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 38% of the 17 million
premature deaths, meaning under the age of 70, were a result of cardiovascular
➢ It is estimated that globally, cardiovascular disease accounts for approximately 32%
of all deaths annually, with stroke and heart attack leading by 85%.
➢ Believe it or not, based on statistics published by The Cleveland Clinic, almost half of
all adults within the United States have been diagnosed with at least one form of heart
Types of Cardiovascular Diseases
To the general public who does not have, nor knows anyone who has a cardiovascular disease, this topic usually leads to a discussion of a heart attack. While heart attacks do classify as a cardiovascular disease and based on the statistics noted above, account for a large percentage of deaths caused by cardiovascular diseases, there are numerous other conditions that fall into this category and require serious medical attention. Some common types of heart disease include:
1. Arrhythmia → abnormal heart rhythms.
2. Heart Failure → complications with the pumping mechanism of your heart.
3. Coronary artery disease → blockages or other complications of the blood vessels of the heart, commonly caused by atherosclerosis.
4. Cerebrovascular disease → commonly known as a stroke. Complications with blood supply to the brain.
5. Deep vein thrombosis → vein blockage, which can lead to a pulmonary embolism. A common concern post operatively.
6. Aortic disease → The aorta is a large blood vessel that transports blood from Development of atherosclerosis. A condition that can lead to coronary artery disease. Image property of: Mayo Clinic your heart to the rest of your body. Problems with this vessel can include things such as aneurysms and dilation.
7. Congenital heart disease → a condition in which patients are born with heart complications. 8. Cardiomyopathy → enlargement of the heart. 9. Rheumatic heart disease → heart complications caused by rheumatic fever. Learn more about rheumatic fever through the Mayo Clinic. 10. Pericardial disease → problems arising in the heart lining, which can include inflammation (pericarditis) or fluid (pericardial effusion).
8. Cardiomyopathy → enlargement of the heart.
9. Rheumatic heart disease → heart complications caused by rheumatic fever. Learn more about rheumatic fever through the Mayo Clinic.
10. Pericardial disease → problems arising in the heart lining, which can include inflammation (pericarditis) or fluid (pericardial effusion).
Why Cardiac Rehabilitation
Following being diagnosed with a cardiovascular disease or suffering a cardiac event, patients are faced with many complications, including weakness and fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, increased stress and mood changes, and decreased energy. Rehabilitation professionals, including physical, occupational and speech therapists, all have significant training in how to counteract these common symptoms and complications associated with heart disease. A personalized treatment protocol can help patients increase their strength, relieve pain, improve and encourage a healthy lifestyle, reduce stress, and prevent future cardiac events, among other benefits as well.
Reducing Your Risk
Learning about heart disease and seeing the statistics leads us to a no-brainer conclusion, being identifying ways in which we can reduce our overall risk for developing heart disease. There are many risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, which include:
1. High cholesterol
5. Poor physical activity
6. Family history
7. Alcohol abuse
9. High blood pressure
10. Drug use
Luckily, many of these factors, we can control! Two of the most common factors are diet and exercise, both of which directly impact your risk for acquiring some of the other factors as well, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It is recommended to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week and to consume a diet rich in fruits and vegetables with minimally processed foods and added sugars. To learn more specifics on diet for a healthy heart, take a look at this guide from the American Heart Association.
Importance of CPR
It is no secret that CPR saves lives, period. Being CPR certified can save a stranger, a friend, or a loved one and it is encouraged that everyone takes the proper steps to become CPR certified. Digest this statistic from the CDC for a moment- about 9 in 10 people who suffer from cardiac arrest outside of the hospital die, but if CPR is administered within the first 2-3 minutes, this can triple a persons chance of survival. While becoming CPR certified is the gold standard, not everyone has the time or money to become certified. The good news is that you do not have to be certified to administer CPR. The truth is, everyone has seen CPR done whether on TV, the movies, or real life. The most important thing to remember is to immediately dial 9-1-1, and then start singing the song “Stayin’ Alive”. Sing this song out loud every time you are administered chest compressions, as this is the rate at which they should be administered. Continue doing so until EMT’s arrive. If you are interested in becoming CPR certified, find a course that is best for you through the American Heart Association CPR & First Aid.
Living with a chronic condition or recovering from a significant injury can be challenging, both physically and mentally. Rehabilitation offers a way to help individuals overcome these challenges and regain independence and confidence. In this blog, we will explore the various types of rehabilitation available, as well as share tips and advice to help you get the most out of your rehabilitation journey. Whether you’re just getting started or are well into your recovery, we hope you find our insights helpful and inspiring.