Harvard Heart Letter

Persistence pays off in cardiac rehabilitation

At home or away, a rehab program can do wonders for your heart.

When cardiovascular disease rears its head, protecting your heart assumes extra importance and urgency. But so many threads are needed to weave a blanket of protection that it's easy to get tangled up or lose hold of what you need to do. A rehabilitation program, commonly called cardiac rehab, can help. Think of it as one-stop shopping for all your cardiovascular needs, from getting more exercise and learning about your medications to adopting a more healthful diet and easing stress.

Sadly, most people who could benefit from a cardiac rehab program don't embark on one. That's a shame, because it can be a life-changing and life-saving tool. People who successfully complete a cardiac rehab program have fewer heart attacks and strokes than people who don't exercise their right to rehab. They also lower their chances of dying within the next few years by 25% or more. Just as important, cardiac rehab can give you back some of the confidence and security that heart disease often snatches away.

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