|Full recovery from coronary artery bypass graft surgery takes around two months. Most patients are able to drive in about three to eight weeks after surgery. Your doctor will provide specific guidelines for your recovery and return to work, including specific instructions on activity and how to care for your incision and general health after the surgery.
The goals of cardiac rehabilitation are to help you regain strength, to prevent your condition from worsening and to reduce your risk of future heart problems. And those can add up to a better quality of life.
Cardiac rehabilitation has four main components:
MEDICAL EVALUATION - A thorough evaluation helps your health care team assess your physical abilities, medical limitations and other conditions you may have. Your team explores what risk factors you may have for such cardiovascular diseases as stroke or high blood pressure. All of these findings help your team tailor a cardiac rehabilitation program to your individual situation, making sure it's safe and effective.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY - No longer is bed rest recommended if you have serious heart problems — it just won't improve your fitness. Cardiac rehabilitation improves your cardiovascular fitness through walking, cycling, rowing or even jogging and other endurance activities.
||You may also do strength training to increase your muscular fitness. Don't worry if you've never exercised before. Your cardiac rehabilitation team will make sure the program moves at a pace you are comfortable with.
LIFESTYLE EDUCATION - Guidance about diet and nutrition helps you shed excess weight and learn to make healthier food choices aimed at reducing fat, sodium and cholesterol. You receive tips on breaking unhealthy habits, such as smoking. You also learn how to manage pain or fatigue that may accompany your heart condition. Cardiac rehabilitation also gives you ample opportunity to ask questions about such issues as medications and sexual activity.
PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT - Adjusting to a serious health problem often takes time. You may experience depression or anxiety, lose touch with your social support system, or have to stop working for several weeks. Counseling or vocational or occupational therapy shows you healthy ways to cope.
Cardiac rehabilitation helps you rebuild your life, both physically and emotionally. It may seem like a lot of time and effort. But as you get stronger and learn how to manage your condition, you'll likely return to a normal routine and enjoy life more.