Medical Minute: Cardiac Rehabilitation

As heart health month continues, we look at what is helping get cardiac patients back on a healthy track.

Whether its congenital heart disease, arrhythmia or congestive heart failure, exercise is a key component in recovery in Trinity's cardiac rehab program.

"Our hearts a muscle and we need to do that. So what we do is we guide them along, teaching them how to do those kinds of things and how to modify the risk of heart disease," said Heidi Zaderaka, Trinity cardiac rehab manager.

The Centers for Disease Control says that in the U.S., one in every four deaths are from heart disease.

Risk factors include eating unhealthy foods, smoking, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

These are things that the program also focuses on to get recovering patients back on a healthy path.

"You need to incorporate everything. You can just say I'm going to exercise and not eat well because you're just cheating yourself. Your heart's not gonna get better as fast," said Chris Urban, Trinity cardiac rehab patient.

Urban, along with 79 other patients, come to cardiac rehab two to three days a week, working out for at least an hour on everything from treadmills to rowing.

And the results, patients and staff say, are life changing.

"We see people with a better outlook on life, feeling stronger so that they can go back to work, do their yard work, they can play with their grand kids. All of those things that are so important to them," said Zaderaka.

Incorporating education and motivation, the program is used in hospitals throughout the country.

"Cardiac rehab is highly recommended by cardiologists, cardiovascular surgeons because of the improved quality of life," said Zaderaka.

Giving patients something to smile about.

"I feel real progress. I can do much more than I could before," said Henry Klein, Trinity cardiac rehab patient.

To find out more about Trinity's cardiac rehab program check out its website, http://trinityhealth.org/rehab_cardiac.