February is American Heart Month, a great time to think about how you are caring for your heart. The heart is a muscle, and movement strengthens the heart muscle the same way exercise strengthens muscles in other parts of your body. A strong heart does a better job of pumping blood through the body, and that helps keep blood pressure under control.
The American Heart Association recommends about 30 minutes of brisk exercise four or five times a week. Before you think that’s easier said than done, consider all the little ways you can move more on any given day. Just 10 minutes of movement at a time can make a difference in the way you feel and in your ability to fight heart disease:
- Park the car farther away from the door.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Get up and walk the halls once an hour.
- Go talk to your coworkers instead of emailing them.
Check into exercise classes offered in your community, or consider a fitness club like Covenant Health’s Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center. Keep moving and you’ll be on your way to a healthier heart in no time.
Comprehensive Heart Care
When you have a problem with your heart, knowing where to go is an important first step. Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center’s award-winning Heart Center offers comprehensive cardiovascular services that span the continuum of heart care. From testing to cardiac rehab, our advanced diagnostics, interventional technologies, cardiovascular surgeries and clinical trials are tailored to meet your cardiac needs. Cardiac services offered at Fort Sanders Regional include:
- Cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons
- Cardiac diagnostics
- Digital catheterization lab
- Hybrid operating room
- Cardiac specialty unit
- Cardiothoracic surgical unit
- Telemetry control services
- Cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation
Advanced Cardiac Diagnostics
You may have heard the phrase “time is muscle,” which refers to heart attack survivability. During a heart attack, blood flow does not reach heart tissue and the muscle can die. The faster someone can receive medical care during a heart attack, the better their chances for recovery. That is why a fast, accurate diagnosis of a heart condition is so important. At Fort Sanders Regional, we use tools like an advanced CT scanner, echocardiography and more to quickly diagnose a heart attack and cardiac conditions.
American Heart Association Distinctions
Fort Sanders Regional has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Mission: Lifeline®- Gold Plus Receiving Quality Achievement Award and Mission Lifeline®- NSTEMI Silver Quality Achievement Award. These designations mean that we have implemented specific cardiac quality improvement measures and provide excellent care to patients who suffer severe heart attacks.
Expert Help for Your Heart
After a heart attack or other cardiac event, you might not know what comes next. Your doctor may tell you it’s time to go to rehab: cardiac rehab. Cardiac rehabilitation is an important part of recovery following a heart attack or heart problem. Not only can it help you recover from a cardiac event, it can protect against future problems.
“Cardiac rehab can reduce your chance of a second heart event by 47 percent within one year,” said Jennifer Reagan, exercise physiologist at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. “That’s a statistic compiled from research by all facilities accredited by the AACVPR (American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation). Not all rehab centers are accredited like Fort Sanders Regional’s cardiac rehab program. There are certain qualifications for accreditation, so it is prestigious.”
In addition to preventing future heart problems and death, cardiac rehab benefits include:
- Strengthening your heart and body after a heart attack
- Relieving symptoms of heart problems, such as chest pain
- Building healthier exercise and nutrition habits
- Reducing stress
- Helping prevent and lessen depression
The goal of cardiac rehab is to form habits that will make and keep you healthy. Our cardiac rehab program offers an individualized plan of monitored exercise and education. Supervised by a team of exercise physiologists, registered nurses and registered dietitians, cardiac rehab is a 12-week, 36-session program of physical activity and education about healthy living. A physician’s referral is required, so if you’ve experienced a cardiac event and your doctor hasn’t talked with you about a cardiac rehabilitation program, you should ask about it.
Recovering from a heart attack means changing your life in positive ways: not smoking, lowering cholesterol, controlling blood pressure, staying active and forming partnerships with health professionals. Those steps don’t just reduce your risk and fear of another heart attack. They also make life healthier and more fun.
Talk to your doctor about a referral to Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Outpatient Program or call (865) 331-1250.