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Sleep is critical to cardiac rehabilitation

cardiac-rehab-snipCardiac Rehabilitation Week starts today and ends Saturday.

This week of public health awareness is sponsored by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR).

SHC joins the AACVPR in promoting the healthiest protocols for recovery from damage to the cardiovascular system.

Anyone who has suffered a heart attack or other damage to the heart knows how much of a sustained effort it takes to keep this critical organ working hard so you can live a long and happy life. 

Getting quality sleep is a key component to any rehabilitation strategy. Sleep provides the body with the time it needs to recover and heal damaged tissues, literally at the cellular level.

If you have a sleep disorder, and you also suffer from cardiac problems, please make sure you are treating your sleep problems so that you have the best chance of addressing your heart health challenges with everything you’ve got.

This means paying attention to:

  • how many hours a night you’re sleeping
  • how many times you’re waking up at night (either to use the bathroom, because you have insomnia, or due to other symptoms like palpitations or pain)
  • how alert and refreshed you feel in the morning
  • even your blood pressure readings first thing in the morning

Inconsistent sleep, frequent nocturnal awakenings, excessive daytime sleepiness, and hard-to-control or erratic blood pressure are just a few indicators that you might have an underlying sleep disorder. If you leave it untreated, your heart will suffer.

Many cardiologists recognize the link between untreated sleep disorders and cardiovascular problems.

However, if you aren’t seeing a heart doctor, yet have heart disease in your family, and you’re struggling to get enough quality sleep, you may wish to bring this up with your primary care physician. They can screen you for sleep disorders and give you some ideas for what to do next.

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