Advocate Lutheran General Hospital
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Cardiac Rehabiliation

Once diagnosed and treated for a cardiac or vascular disease, ongoing education, awareness and care are an important to continue the journey to good cardiovascular health. Advocate Lutheran General Hospital offers several programs to assist patients in making these adjustments after leaving the hospital.

Cardiac Rehabilitation

Cardiac rehabilitation at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital is a comprehensive program of monitored exercise, health education, and counseling. An individual's rehabilitation program may focus on the need to

  • Increase stamina and energy levels
  • Return to work and hobbies
  • Decrease or eliminate risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • Improve the overall quality of life

Our program accepts heart patients from any hospital with a physician referral. Our goal is to help improve the health and well-being of patients who have experienced

  • A recent heart attack
  • Angina attacks
  • Heart valve surgery
  • Heart bypass surgery
  • Cardiac angioplasty or stent
  • Other heart problems

Your individualized cardiac rehabilitation program
Your condition will be carefully tested and evaluated before starting a rehabilitation program. Your medical team will determine the right intensity and types of exercise for you in order to:

  • Improve muscle strength and circulation
  • Lower blood pressure at rest and during activity
  • Decrease body fat and increase lean muscle mass
  • Improve your cholesterol/HDL ratio
  • Provide a mechanism to relieve stress

Patients typically attend a cardiac program three times per week for three months.
After completing the program, patients are advised to continue their exercise plan throughout their lives. Patients may choose to exercise at home, in a supervised maintenance program or in a non-monitored facility.

Location and contact information
If you have any questions or would like more information, please stop by or contact us at the rehabilitation department.

Cardiac rehabilitation department
Parkside Center
Suite 160 (first floor)
(adjacent to Lutheran General Hospital)

Parking is available in the parking garage across from the Parkside Center, and at other convenient locations on the Lutheran General Hospital campus.

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Home Activities and Adjustments

Everyday life activities may need to change after a heart attack or a procedure such as angioplasty or bypass surgery.

This information offers suggestions for living safely. Please keep in mind that this is a general guide. You should always follow the advice of your physician.

What to know about everyday activities

Driving a car
Ask your cardiologist and or cardiac surgeon when it will be safe to drive. Patients who have had a heart attack or heart surgery may be restricted from driving longer than a patient who received an angioplasty/stent for example. When on long trips, remember to stop and walk around every couple hours. If that is not possible, keep your legs active by stretching them while sitting.

Traveling by plane

  • Check with your doctor to make sure it is ok for you to fly.
  • Have any medications you need readily available.
  • Wear compression stocking and drink water or juices to avoid blood clots.
  • During a long flight, take a walk and stretch your legs to keep blood moving.

Sexual intercourse
Studies have shown sexual intercourse to be similar to climbing two flights of stairs. It is not a particularly risky activity as long as common sense is used (i.e. in a comfortable environment, with the same partner and not after a heavy meal).

Shoveling snow
Heavy snow shoveling puts a great demand on the heart and is considered risky for cardiac patients. In general, cold weather exertion may worsen angina for many cardiac patients. This is due to the constriction of blood vessels to conserve body heat. When the blood vessels constrict, the heart is deprived of oxygenated blood.

...on cold winter days

  • Exercise indoors if the temperature or wind chill is 20 degrees or lower.
  • Walk during the warmer part of the day (10 a.m.-2 p.m.).
  • Dress warmly, using several layers of thin clothing.
  • Wear a hat: As much as 40 percent of body heat is lost through the head/neck.
  • Wear a protective covering over your nose and mouth to warm the air before it enters your system.

...on hot humid days

  • Exercise indoors if the temperature is above 85 degrees, or if humidity is 85 percent or higher.
  • Walk during the coolest part of the day (8 a.m.-10 a.m. or 6 p.m.-10 p.m.).
  • Wear light, loose fitting clothing to allow perspiration to evaporate.
  • Drink water before, during and after exercise. This helps control body heat and replaces fluids lost through perspiration.
  • Don't exercise outdoors on ozone alert days. Use an indoor alternative.

...after eating
Wait one hour after eating a substantial meal before you exercise. This will decrease the risk of cramping, nausea, or undue strain on your heart.

...when feeling sick
Lower the exercise workload or take a day or two off from exercise until you feel better.

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