Younger Age of Patients Suffering from Heart Problems in the UAE Makes Cardiac Rehabilitation Even More Crucial Say Experts
Experts at the region’s leading heart care hospital are warning that patients who have suffered heart attacks are increasing their risk of further heart problems if they do not take part in a Cardiac Rehabilitation program.
According to physical therapists at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, cardiac patients who complete the hospital’s outpatient exercise and education program show a marked improvement in almost all aspects of their health.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala’s network of healthcare providers, conducted a study on 50 patients suffering from cardiovascular disease who went on to complete the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program. The study was one of the first reports from the Middle East region looking at how a structured cardiac rehabilitation program can improve patients’ functional capacity and psychological well-being.
The Cardiac Rehabilitation program, which lasts between six and 12 weeks, comprises a carefully-monitored exercise program, where the intensity and duration are gradually increased over time. The program, which is tailored to each patient’s individual needs, also includes a series of educational sessions to help patients live healthier lives in the future covering subjects such as medication management, stress management, diabetes and nutrition.
“Cardiovascular disease tends to occur at a much younger age in the UAE than it does in the rest of the world,” says Ahmed Bashkeel, Director of Inpatient Therapies and Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “We’re seeing people coming to us for cardiac rehabilitation who are as young as their mid- 30s. That’s why it’s important for these patients to fully complete the cardiac rehabilitation program. They still have many more productive years ahead of them and can hopefully return to the workforce and take care of their families.”
Physical therapists say that, despite the clear health benefits, too few heart patients are undertaking rehabilitation programs, and those who do, too often fail to complete them.
The problem is a global one. According to a new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only one-in-three heart attack survivors go on to complete cardiac rehabilitation programs in America. Experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are seeing similarly high numbers in the UAE.
“Cardiac rehabilitation programs are a vital step on the road to recovery for anyone who has suffered a cardiac event. We have seen that patients who take part in these programs have far better health outcomes than those who do not,” says Lisa Adams, Cardiac Rehabilitation Supervisor at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. “We also found that patients who complete the full program run a far lower risk of suffering a recurrence in their first year after a cardiac event than those who drop out.”
Statistics published by the Department of Health in 2015 show that cardiovascular disease is the biggest killer in the UAE, accounting for over a third of deaths each year.
Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s cardiac rehabilitation program operates according to the latest international best practices, and takes place in a high-tech gym within the hospital, fully equipped with portable telemetry units to monitor patients’ hearts as they work out. The program starts with a first phase of inpatient rehabilitation and continues onto a second phase of outpatient rehabilitation.