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From The Knox County Hospital District—
KNOX CITY– As heart disease continues to threaten Americans across the country, accounting for one in every four deaths, knowing how to make the medical- and lifestyle-related decisions to better their health becomes even more critical. If you have survived a heart attack or stroke, or suffer from other heart-related ailments, the cardiac rehabilitation program at Knox County Hospital might be a lifeline.
“As we observe American Heart Month this February, we are taking the time to educate the people of our community about the importance of heart health and how to strengthen their cardiovascular health should they suffer from heart disease,” explained Will Raeke, director of cardiac rehab at Knox County Hospital District. “As the leading cause of death in Texas, heart disease should be a concern of every one of us.”
Cardiovascular disease takes many forms, including congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure. The condition continues to be the leading cause of death in the state, accounting for more than 23 percent.
Common among both men and women, the symptoms of heart disease often depend on the type of condition. According to
Raeke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking and lack of regular exercise are all deadly elements that can contribute to complications.
Understanding more about cardiovascular disease and how it can affect your health is an important step in taking the measures needed to prevent or reduce the severity of high-blood pressure, heart attacks or stroke.
Raeke adds that one of the ways to understand your risk of cardiovascular disease is to talk with your primary care provider about your family history as well as your current health status. “Your primary care provider can talk with you about your risks and preventative measures you should take,” Raeke said. “A great time to discuss heart disease is during your next doctor’s appointment with your primary care physician or during your annual wellness check.”
If you are suspected of being at risk for heart disease, a healthcare provider might recommend you have an electrocardiogram performed. This unique test allows providers to take a closer look at your heart and its performance.
Those fortunate enough to survive a heart attack or stroke often require a specialized rehabilitation program in a controlled setting to regain their cardiovascular strength. The cardiac rehabilitation program at Knox County Hospital District provides a convenient setting in which to talk with professionals who understand how you are feeling.
The comprehensive program integrates education, counseling and medical tests to develop a treatment plan that helps patients safely improve their physical fitness while reducing cardiac symptoms.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who have participated in a cardiac rehab program were more likely to avoid subsequent heart attacks compared to those who did not participate in a program or only attended a few times. The government agency says that the rate of heart attack was consistently lower among individuals who participated in more than 24 sessions and highest among those who participated in fewer than 12 sessions.
While the cardiac rehabilitation programs are personalized for each patient based on their condition, sessions are typically recommended three times a week for 12 weeks. Exercise programs are conducted under carefully monitored conditions to ensure that improved strength is developed safely.
Raeke says that easing into activities that do not overstimulate the heart is important to recovery. Overexerting can cause physical harm, but underperforming can prevent the body from successfully healing.
Medicare and most private insurance plans cover all or part of cardiac rehab programs. Patients typically qualify if their medical history or condition includes a heart attack, congestive heart failure or heart surgery, to name a few.
For more information about cardiovascular disease and whether the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation program at Knox County Hospital District is right for you, talk with your cardiologist or primary care provider. You may also call the hospital at 940-657-3535 or visit www.knoxhospital.org to learn more about local healthcare programs and services.