Local woman hopes path to heart health recovery inspires others

Each patient follows a six to ten week program tailored to them, with specialized nurses overseeing the one hour sessions.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- After a heart attack or heart surgery, many people are just happy to be at home. But experts say the best path to heart health leads back to the hospital for cardiac rehab.

Last summer, 67-year-old June Harris felt sick and out of energy. At Lankenau Medical Center's emergency room, she got a surprise.

"They found I had some arteries that was clogged," she said. "I had bypass, quadruple bypass surgery."

When June's energy wasn't back two months later, she gladly came to Lankenau for cardiac rehabilitation - a supervised exercise and education program.

"We show them the way to progress slowly to strengthen that heart muscle," said Carolyn Wilson, R.N.

Cardiac rehab can help after a heart attack, cardiac bypass, valve repair or replacement, or a weakened heart muscle.

Each patient follows a six to ten week program tailored to them, with specialized nurses overseeing the one hour sessions.

They also learn about healthy eating, weight management, controlling diabetes or high blood pressure and they get emotional support to make those changes for the better.

"We do a lot of stress management with our patients," said Lisa Downing, R.N.

"They're very, very depressed and very anxious. They feel safe here, and it gives them some confidence when they're finished the program of what they can do safely," said Carolyn.

June is on a healthy track and currently 35 pounds lighter than when she started.

"I stay away from sugar and just eat smaller portions, eat more fruits and vegetables," she said. "At home, I walk maybe 30 minutes a day, three times a week."

"Here I am healthy, no problems!" said June.

For more information on Main Line Health's Cardiac Rehabilitation locations, CLICK HERE.
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