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How to boost your heart health


By Meranda Schmitz, RN and Cardiac Rehab nurse

We recently posted about cardiovascular disease and its risk factors. So what can you do decrease your risk factors and increase your heart’s health?

  1. Make a few changes to your diet
  2. Exercise for the recommended amount of time at the recommended effort level
  3. Keep your blood sugar levels under control
  4. Take the medications prescribed by your doctor or cardiologist
  5. Join Cardiac Rehab!

After a cardiac event or procedure, patients enter a rehabilitation phase. Phase 1 occurs when the patient is in the hospital. Participating in other phases happens after the patient returns home. Another program is available to help prevent an event or procedure in the first place.

CHCS Cardiac Rehab offers several options: Phase 2, Phase 3/Heart to Heart Therapy, and Supervised Exercise Therapy for Peripheral Artery Disease, or SET for PAD. A brief description of each of these options follows.

Phase 2 Cardiac Rehab is an individualized program based on your condition and lifestyle. Phase 2 can follow an event, surgery, or procedure. (This may include worsening congestive heart failure or angina, or it could follow a heart attack stent placement, open heart surgery, or heart valve surgery.) The program includes exercise and education to prevent future heart disease and damage. It is led by nurses with the knowledge and excitement to guide you. We rehab your heart through exercise that strengthens and heals this vital muscle. We start out slowly and gradually advance based on your heart rhythm and vital signs (blood pressure and heart rate) response, as well as your tolerance.

During Phase 2, CHCS provides valuable information regarding decreasing your risk factors, understanding your disease, and understanding your medications, and we work alongside your cardiologist to give you the best therapy available. Phase 2 Cardiac Rehab can lower your risk of future heart attack by 41%!

Phase 3 Cardiac Rehab is a voluntary individualized treatment plan that emphasizes education and continuing your journey. It usually follows Phase 2. In Phase 3, staff help you become more independent while still monitoring your vital signs and symptoms as well as progression of exercise. We also can include those who have risk factors for heart disease, or heart disease that hasn’t yet required an intervention, to help prevent future events. We call this Heart to Heart Therapy, and it can include those who don’t have insurance coverage for Cardiac Rehab. Heart to Heart Therapy is modified to fit your individual needs. It is also led by Cardiac Coaches, a combined team of RNs and fitness instructors trained to provide you with the education and exercise plan you need.

Supervised Exercise Therapy for Peripheral Artery Disease, or SET for PAD, is a program designed for those with symptoms of claudication, which is pain and/or fatigue that occurs with activity. CHCS Cardiac Coaches work with patients who have this problem to extend endurance so they can be active for a longer period of time before experiencing episodes of claudication. SET for PAD can help patients be more active and avoid surgery.

We are excited to offer these services in our community. If you’d like to learn more, contact Meranda Schmitz at 785-889-4274 extension 4177 to see if one of our programs is right for you!

Learn more about cardiovascular disease.


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