Harvard Heart Letter

Women: Cardiac rehab key to recovery

After a heart attack, bypass surgery, or some cases of artery-opening angioplasty, cardiac rehabilitation helps people feel better and regain their stamina, and helps protect them from future cardiovascular trouble. Yet far fewer women than men take advantage of the program, even though research shows that women may benefit more from the program. Reasons for nonparticipation include failure to understand its value, transportation issues, limited financial resources, reluctance to spend time away from a spouse or children, advanced age, frailty, and other health problems that make movement slow and painful. Some physicians have their own biases and do not refer women to cardiac rehab.
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