When an older person is recovering from a serious condition or surgery, many doctors will recommend therapy or rehabilitation techniques to help expedite the process. While some patients are diligent about taking part in such exercises, others might tend to slack off during their heart disease recovery process. New studies suggest, however, that people who are recovering – particularly from specific conditions – may be doing themselves a true disservice by ignoring physicians’ recommendations post-op.
In Miami, Fla., one man shared his firsthand experience with the potential of rehabilitation while recovering from coronary artery disease, as reported by Centre Daily News. At the age of 66, Ted D’Esposito received a diagnosis of the condition after visiting a doctor with symptoms including shortness of breath and lethargy, as well as a burning sensation in the back of his throat. The physician advised that he improve his daily activity level and cut certain foods out of his diet.
D’Esposito took these recommendations seriously, and several weeks after beginning the cardiac rehabilitation program said his health was better than ever.
“I feel like I’m 40 again,” he told the news source.
According to Reuters, such positive results are not unique to D’Esposito. The source pointed to previous studies which support the effectiveness of cardiovascular rehabilitation in bringing people back to good health following an event. However, doctors and patients alike may overlook rehab for seniors, in terms of “prescribing” exercises and following through with them, respectively. Dr. Randal Thomas, director of the Cardiovascular Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, also voiced his support for the practice, and said he believes it could be more broadly implemented with positive results.
“Cardiac rehabilitation is probably the best kept secret in cardiovascular medicine today,” Thomas told the news source. “It’s underutilized for those who are eligible for the program, and especially underutilized for older adults.”