When Heart Disease Strikes, Cardiac Rehab Helps Rebuild

February 9, 2014

At the age of 47, Annabeth Baker suffered a heart attack and permanent heart damage in August of 2013. “It was totally unexpected,” she admits. Unexpected, because she did not experience the traditional symptoms associated with a heart attack – chest pains, shortness of breath and pain in the left arm. “I misread the symptoms,” Annabeth remembers. “I had stomach nausea and like so many women, I waited to go in.” Thinking it was acid reflux, Annabeth said it wasn’t until 10 days after experiencing symptoms that she went to the Emergency Room.

Two months earlier, however, Annabeth had a procedure to place a stent to open a blockage in one of her main arteries. “I did not expect a heart attack after the stent,” she says. The busy business owner, wife and mother of two, who had been hoping the stent would take care of her heart health on its own, was reminded heart disease is something she will always manage. “You still have heart disease,” she told herself, “and will have to treat it as such.”

Enrolling in the cardiac rehab program at BSA, Annabeth had an opportunity to rebuild her heart health through monitored exercise, as well as learn how to handle this “life-changing adjustment.” The health care providers of the BSA Cardiac Rehab Program, she says, helped make sense of all the new information and what changes she needed to make. Annabeth now had the tools to approach her heart health on several fronts. “The program was wonderful, because I had so much more to learn that I thought,” she adds. “From diet and nutrition, to cutting back on sodium, the nurses were so good at explaining everything.” She also ended up cutting back hours at work to help reduce stress.

Today, Annabeth has asked for more help at work. She exercises five to seven days a week and recognizes that her biggest risk factor – family history – is something she will manage every day going forward. She credits the BSA cardiac rehab program as the resource that helped give her a second chance. “I’m so glad this is where we chose to go,” she says.

To learn more about the 12-week cardiac program at BSA available to patients who have had a heart attack or cardiac procedure, please visit here