PT From Head to Toe – How PT Helps Keep Your Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women, according to the CDC. There are many risk factors that can increase your risk for heart disease, and while some – like family history – are out of your control, the choice to get up and get moving is within your control, and is an imperative step in reducing your risk for heart disease.

Luckily, for the millions of Americans who have developed heart disease in one form or another, a specialized form of physical therapy exists to get you moving now, regardless of your current mobility – acute care.

We sat down with Stephen Ramsey PT, DPT (Cardiovascular/Pulmonary PT Resident), Tiffany Haney PT, MSPT (Cardiovascular/Pulmonary PT Resident) and Erica Colclough PT, MSPT Clinical Coordinator of physical therapy for the ICU Piedmont Hospital (Cardiovascular/Pulmonary resident graduate) to discuss the role of physical therapy in a cardiac rehabilitation program. According to these PTs, whether the patient is “fixed,” “unfixed,” “stable” or “unstable,” – it all comes down to movement. Early mobilization is key.

Recent advances in technology has made early mobilization possible – there are now various methods to support just about every organ so that the intubated patient who – two years ago – may have been sequestered to “let them rest,” are now up and moving one to two days post-surgery. These support methods allow for patients to move leaps and bounds with simple steps.

But what about the patients who are more interested in preventative care – their heart disease has not progressed to necessitating surgery, but still needs to be addressed – what about them?

According to Erica, these patients can also hugely benefit from PT. By gradually increasing mobility, focusing on breathing and diet, heart disease is treatable.

Before you take that first step, do some research so that you’re comfortable with your PT. At your first appointment, ask about their experience with patients like you. Have they found success? To what extent? What are some of the outcomes that have been achieved with their programs? It’s also important to verify that the office has safety procedures in place in the event of a medical emergency. After all, you’re there for a reason, right?

Whether you’re just getting started with PT, or you’re a frequent flier, these PTs agree that one of the key ingredients in a successful outcome (other than a healthy diet), is that you “buy in” to the plan. Your PT has taken careful thought and consideration into designing a treatment plan catered to your specific needs. They have studied your history, discussed your prognosis at length with your doctor and bounced strategies and ideas off co-workers – all with the goal of providing you with the hope of a healthy future.

Click HERE to find a PT in your area, so you can get out and move better, feel better and live better.


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