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Physical Therapy and Heart Health

February is American Heart Month!

In 2020 the leading cause of death was heart disease followed by cancer and COVID-19. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the United States and is more frequent in women than men. If you have suffered a cardiac event here is what Physical Therapy can offer.

Cardiac Physical Therapy’s Role in Heart Health

  • A cardiac PT treats people who have heart disease including coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, post heart attack or heart surgery.

  • After suffering a cardiac event your cardiologist will recommend cardiac rehabilitation which averages 3 months, 2-3x a week focusing on strengthening your heart.

  • A cardiac PT will constantly monitor your EKG, heart rate and blood pressure as you exercise during your session.

  • They will educate you on your activity abilities outside of rehabilitation, teach you how to manage your condition and guide you toward a nutritionist to address your diet.

  • A usual session consists of aerobic exercise such as walking or biking and strengthening exercises all while your vitals are being monitored.

  • Your rehab will be individualized to your goals as your heart gets stronger.

Orthopedic Physical Therapy’s Role in Heart Health

  • An orthopedic PT can create a safe exercise routine with aerobic exercise and strength training, once you are cleared by your cardiologist.

  • The American Heart Association recommends that adults should engage in at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to strengthen your heart, blood vessels and improve your oxygen flow. We can help you establish an individualized exercise plan 30 min, 5x a week.

  • Strength training can help decrease fatty tissue in the body and your orthopedic PT can teach you proper form with your strengthening routine.

  • If pain is limiting your ability to work out, your orthopedic PT can help decrease pain with manual intervention and individualized therapeutic exercise, so you can resume working out to address your heart health.

  • An orthopedic PT can help educate you on your blood pressure & target heart rate for working out.

  • An orthopedic PT can guide you toward a professional nutritionist to address your diet goals.

  • An orthopedic PT can recommend a local cardiologist, if risk factors are identified during your orthopedic sessions, who would provide appropriate testing and cardiac follow up.

  • Once discharged from cardiac PT, you could transition to a wellness program guided by an orthopedic PT to address endurance, function and fitness goals.

  • Long COVID-19 symptoms can include lung damage affecting oxygen supply to your heart which damages your heart tissue and prevents oxygen supply to your other tissues. Your orthopedic PT can guide you toward a cardiac PT to individualize your cardiac rehab to address long COVID-19 symptoms that you may be experiencing.


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