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Cardiac rehab helps heart patients live better and longer

LAURIUM — If you have a heart problem, cardiac rehab may be what’s best for your ticker right now. And the care team at Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital & Clinics is ready when you need them.

During Cardiac Rehab Week Feb. 9 – 15, Aspirus Kinesiologists Andrew Meverden and Sarah Golus are raising awareness about the cardiac rehab program and how it can help patients with heart and lung problems improve their physical condition.

“We care deeply about our patients and want to help them get back to living healthier and happier lives,” said Meverden. “It’s very rewarding when patients realize how lifestyle changes and exercise can turn their health around, and we’re with them every step of the way.”

Meverden offers the following seven things you should know about cardiac rehab that may help you live better and longer.

1. It’s an outpatient program. Cardiac rehab is a medically supervised program for people with heart problems. A typical program lasts about 12 weeks and is run by a team of doctors, nurses, and other experts. During the classes, participants exercise to get stronger, and they receive heart-healthy education, counseling, and support. Appointments are available at three Aspirus locations in the Upper Peninsula: Aspirus Laurium, Aspirus Houghton, and Aspirus Ontonagon clinics.

2. Rehab could help keep you active and out of the hospital. It can help you resume favorite activities – like golfing or ballroom dancing – after a heart attack. And it may reduce your need for chest pain medicines, as well as cut your risk for future heart attacks, hospital stays and even early death.

3. Many people qualify. You may be a candidate if, for instance, you have or have had a heart attack, heart failure, coronary artery bypass surgery, heart-valve surgery, angioplasty, angina or coronary heart disease.

4. The exercise classes are safe. In rehab, the exercise is tailored to your needs. And it’s monitored for your safety. For instance, you might exercise on a treadmill or a rowing machine to help improve your fitness level.

5. You’ll learn to care for your ticker. Rehab participants learn healthy changes, such as eating right, quitting smoking and reducing stress.

6. You can ask for it. To find out if cardiac rehab is right for you, ask your doctor.

7. It’s often covered by insurance. Medicare and many private insurance plans cover cardiac rehab.

Appointments are available in Laurium, Houghton, and Ontonagon. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call Aspirus Laurium Clinic at 337-6528, Aspirus Houghton Clinic at 231-8053 or the Aspirus Ontonagon Clinic at 884-8149.