Working the Heart Muscle: November 6, 2012

You could say 80-year-old Walter Wieland is both a survivor…

 “I’ve had a few hearts attacks,” says Walter Wieland, heart patient.

And a graduate. He graduated from cardiac rehab, taking what he learned to heart.

“I have to exercise if I want to stay alive,” says Wieland.

Cardiac rehab is often the next step after a major heart event. Bridging the gap between recovery and the next phase of life.

“We see people up to from two weeks to up to almost a year after their event. So it depends on how big of an event they had and how quickly their doctor refers them,” says Alexis Collins, registered nurse with Lee Memorial Health System.

Collins works with heart patients, guiding them on a course to good health.

“What we do here is lifestyle modification and monitor the patient while they exercise,” says Collins.

“They come in for up to 35 sessions. We do cardiovascular exercise with them. And at the same time we provide education on those risk factors so cardiovascular disease isn’t a problem for them in the future,” says Collins.

Statistically speaking, cardiac rehab is life changing and life saving. Ninety-five percent of people who undergo rehab have a three-year survival rate compared to a 65% rate for those who didn’t.

“When you are with us for up to 12 weeks we’re reinforcing that you are becoming accountable for yourself and the idea is that you continue,” says Collins.

Which brings us back to Wieland.

“On Tuesdays and Thursday I swim. Monday, Wednesday and Friday I come here,” says Wieland.

He is taking advantage of his new lease on life.