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New Start, Better Heart

Hospital news | Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Prairie du Chien, WI – Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in our nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four Americans - approximately 600,000 people - die of heart disease each year. Crossing Rivers Health is joining the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) in celebrating February 9 – 15 as Cardiac Rehabilitation Week. This nationwide campaign is designed to focus national attention on cardiac rehabilitation’s contribution to the improvement of the health and physical performance of individuals at risk for heart disease and/or those individuals diagnosed with heart disease. The goal of the Cardiac Rehab team at Crossing Rivers Health is to educate the community about the role of cardiac rehabilitation in reducing the devastating effects of heart disease.

“Cardiac rehabilitation plays a large role in regaining quality of life in those living with heart disease,” shared Tammy Thompson, Manager of Cardiac Rehab at Crossing Rivers Health. “Evidence supports exercise as the best medicine in the management of health-related risk factors that contribute to heart disease and has a significant role in improving quality of life. Regular exercise has such a positive impact on all areas of our health, both mentally and physically.”

“Exercise reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, lowers blood sugar in diabetics, helps regulate the use of blood sugar in non-diabetics and has a positive impact on weight loss and weight control- which are all risk factors that are directly associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease,” added Patrick Stovey, Clinical Exercise Physiologist at Crossing Rivers Health.

Heart disease and stroke can be fatal, but they can also lead to serious illness, disability, and a lower quality of life. Following a heart attack, individuals frequently suffer fatigue and depression and they may find it more difficult to engage in physical activities.

“Participation in a Cardiac Rehab program helps people decrease levels of fatigue, helps manage depression and gives people the guidance needed to feel more confident in returning to usual activities,” stated Austin Neis, Exercise Specialist at Crossing Rivers Health.

“Another major role we play in Cardiac Rehab is helping patients and their families increase awareness of their personal risk factors and identifying which lifestyle behaviors are most important to that individual,” explained Jessica Goltz, Health and Wellness Coach. “Eating healthy, establishing a regular exercise program and sticking to it, have to be priority to the patient in order for change in lifestyle choices to occur. Our goal is to help each person create a plan for changing lifestyle factors such as creating a regular plan for exercise or providing them with the education necessary to understand basic nutrition guidelines. Changing lifestyle behaviors is not a one size fits all for each person- it is not about adhering to the latest and greatest quick fix to weight loss and heart-healthy living. The key to living a heart-healthy life is creating an individualized plan that is important to you and one that is realistic and easy to maintain.”

Learn more about services provided by the cardiac rehab department at Crossing Rivers Health at crossingrivers.org/cardiacrehab or call 608.357.2349.

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