UK Gill Heart Institute offers individualized fitness program for heart patients

January 30, 2016

The results of cardiac rehabilitation are real. Studies of Medicare patients have shown that participation in a heart health rehabilitation program reduces patient mortality by about 10 percent over a five-year period compared to patients who do not enter such programs.Although based in Lexington, the UK Gill Heart Institute maintains satellite clinics throughout the state to reach the rural populations at highest risk of heart disease. Bailey herself is a native of Manchester, in the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky, so she understands the challenges faced by her patients.

"We have high rates of smoking, and when adults smoke their children are exposed to the dangerous effects of second-hand smoke and more likely to smoke as adults themselves," Bailey said. "Kentucky also has high rates of diabetes, obesity and hypertension and some of the lowest rates of physical activity in the nation. Historically, access to medical care has been difficult in many parts of the state, so when people come in for treatment they often present with more advanced heart disease. We also struggle with high levels of poverty and low levels of education - factors that track with heart disease. Depression and anxiety, other contributors to heart disease, are also high here."

But Bailey is quick to add that, though problems afflicting Kentucky may seem grim, the prognosis for individual patients can be very good. Cardiac rehabilitation has a proven track record of positive results and offers a chance for patients to recover from heart disease by following an individualized program of fitness, dietary modification and education - in short, radically changing their lifestyle. The advice may seem to be common sense - eat well, exercise and practice good health habits - but Bailey has seen that patients need support to make heart-healthy changes.

"A healthy lifestyle isn't complicated," says the doctor, "but it can be difficult. Cardiac rehabilitation offers help."

Source: UK Gill Heart Institute