Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation

If you’re recovering from a heart attack, heart surgery or heart failure, your doctor may recommend cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation. Our rehab specialists help you regain your health with personalized recommendations for exercise, healthy eating and lifestyle changes.

We also support people who have chronic lung disease. This includes patients who may need (or have already received) a lung transplant. We’ll help you achieve independence and improve your quality of life.

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Who Benefits from Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab?

Cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases can take a toll on your heart and lungs. You may have frequent shortness of breath or feel tired after simple activities.

Fortunately, participation in a cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation program can strengthen your heart and lungs — helping you breathe easier and function better.

Many people benefit from rehabilitation, including those who have (or had):

  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Asthma
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), including chronic bronchitis or emphysema
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Pulmonary fibrosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Recent cardiothoracic surgery
  • Vascular disorders, including peripheral artery disease

Our Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services

Many licensed or certified professionals make up our cardiac and pulmonary rehab team. They include:

  • Cardiologists
  • Pulmonologists
  • Exercise physiologists
  • Respiratory therapists
  • Physical and occupational therapists
  • Nurse case managers

The type of rehab you’ll need depends on your condition and symptoms. Some people need both cardiac and pulmonary rehab, while others only take part in one program. Either way, we’ll teach you skills and help you make lifestyle changes that keep your heart and lungs as healthy as possible.

Our Approach to Rehabilitation

Our goal is to help you improve your cardiovascular health and learn to exercise safely. We offer medically supervised exercise plans designed for you by an exercise physiologist. Each group exercise session consists of a warm-up, aerobic exercise and a cool-down period. You’ll participate with other people who have similar risk factors and medical conditions.

As a patient in our program, you’ll also have access to dietary counseling, stress management, psychosocial support and ongoing health education classes.

Cardiac Rehab Services

Our team offers a variety of services tailored to your medical needs and personal goals, including:

  • Exercise plans. We’ll help you find exercises you enjoy, ranging from walking and cycling to yoga and strength training. As you build your cardiovascular and muscular fitness, we’ll help you safely adjust the frequency and intensity of your workouts.
  • Lifestyle education. We’ll teach you how certain lifestyle changes can improve your heart health and prevent your condition from getting worse. You’ll learn how to eat better, maintain a healthy weight or manage stress.
  • Mental and emotional support. Coping with a chronic condition isn’t easy, but we’re here to help. If you’re feeling worried or depressed, we’ll connect you with specialists who can prescribe counseling or other therapies.

If you stick to your rehab plan, you may eventually need less medication to manage your symptoms.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Services

Just like our cardiac rehab program, pulmonary rehab combines exercise and education to improve your quality of life. But it’s focused on improving your breathing and lung health. Services include:

  • Specially designed exercises. We’ll teach you safe, simple exercises created for people with chronic lung disease. As you build strength and endurance, you’ll be able to exercise with less shortness of breath.
  • Breathing techniques. Exercises such as pursed lipped breathing can help you increase your oxygen and energy levels, and reduce your need for supplemental oxygen. We also teach relaxation techniques that help keep you calm when you’re short of breath.
  • Patient education. Because many people with chronic lung disease take one or more medications, it’s important to make sure you’re taking the right dose at the right time. We’ll help you understand how your medications work, and what side effects to watch out for. We’ll also teach you how to monitor your oxygen level so you can prevent it from dropping too low.
  • Support services. It’s natural for people with chronic lung disease to sometimes feel anxious or depressed. We can connect you with specialists who provide counseling or other therapies. We can also refer you to support groups made up of people who face the same challenges as you.

A key goal of pulmonary rehab is to help you avoid emergency room visits and hospital admissions. And, as you build stamina and learn to control your symptoms, you’ll find it easier to take part in your favorite activities.

Community Programs to Complement Your Rehabilitation

Although the foundation of our cardiac and pulmonary rehab program is exercise, we also aim to help you eat better, manage your weight or stop smoking. That’s why Centra offers patients and community members access to three community programs that can further benefit your heart and lung health.

  • Healthy Steps. This fitness program is offered in partnership with several YMCA locations in central Virginia. After an initial assessment to confirm your baseline health and abilities, you’ll follow a customized exercise plan several days a week. Throughout the program, which lasts an average of three months, one of our exercise physiologists or registered nurses will monitor your progress. Call 434.200.3430 to learn more.
  • Be Tobacco Free. If you smoke, one of the most important things you can do for your heart and lungs is to stop smoking. Our free, hour-long smoking cessation class in Lynchburg teaches you practical ways to give up smoking or chewing tobacco for good. Call 434.200.3812 to register.
  • NEW Program. Our nutrition, exercise and weight management (NEW) program helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight. This eight-week series, which takes place in Lynchburg, teaches you principles of the volumetrics diet. You’ll learn how to choose and consume nutrient-rich foods that are high in water content and low in calories. Call 434.237.8163 to register.

These programs are optional resources. If you choose not to enroll, you will still receive customized exercise and dietary support through your cardiac or pulmonary rehab program.

Is Your Heart at Risk?

Knowing your cardiovascular risk factors can help prevent heart disease or catch it early, when it’s often easier to treat. Learn how to reduce your risk with our HeartAware survey.

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