MEDFORD, Ore. — February is set aside to raise awareness about heart disease and what you can do to prevent it, but knowing how to recover from a cardiac event can be just as important.
Rogue Regional Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation Program focuses on helping people rebound after a heart event, but they say preventing the disease is key. The hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation sees about 250 patients a year, keeping each on track with their blood pressure and cholesterol levels. The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center then helps patients to find the life after heart disease.
A couple years after retiring from the Medford Police Department, Chad Teresi got a scare unlike anything he’d experienced in the field.
“I got flu-like symptoms, aches and pains, and finally got chest pains,” Teresi described. After four weeks of those symptoms, doctors discovered a tooth infection had led to endocarditis – an infection in the heart.
“They said, you’ve got kind of a leaky valve in your heart and we’re going to fix it’,” Teresi recalled.
After open-heart surgery, another realization came for Teresi when he started exercising as part of Rogue Regional Medical Center’s Cardiac Rehabilitation.
“All of a sudden, you’re not tough anymore. You’re frail and you’re kind of afraid not to be frail,” said Teresi. It’s that fear that the rehab staff said they’re ready to help conquer.
“People are afraid after a cardiac event, ‘Will I ever be able to hike again?’ ‘Will I ever be able to ride my bike again?’ We’re here to tell you there’s life after a heart event,” said the rehab center’s Beth Coker.
Staff suggest monitoring your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and waist circumference. They say you should also develop an exercise program, even if that means just walking. The hospital staff also suggest finding a friend to exercise with to keep yourself accountable.