MONDAY, April 27, 2020 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiac rehabilitation programs improve heart attack survivors' quality of life, especially if they get lots of exercise, a new British study finds.
A heart attack can reduce quality of life due to struggles with mobility and self-care, as well as daily leisure and work activities.
Many heart attack survivors take part in cardiac rehab, which emphasizes exercise, quitting smoking, healthy eating, stress management, and taking prescribed medications.
"Exercise improves fitness, which has both physical and mental health benefits," said study author Dr. Ben Hurdus of the University of Leeds. "If you're more able to participate in activities that bring you happiness, then you're more likely to have a better quality of life."
This study examined how more than 4,500 heart attack survivors in England felt about their quality of life one, six and 12 months after leaving the hospital.
Those who went to rehab had a higher quality of life at all three time points than those who didn't.
Survivors who went to rehab and exercised 150 minutes or more a week had higher quality-of-life scores than those who did neither.
The study was presented online April 23 to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). Findings in presentations are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Hurdus pointed out that cardiac rehab involves not only exercise but also advice on lifestyle and medications, all of which probably help make people feel better.
"There are also the added social benefits such as being around other people in a similar situation and having that shared sense of community," he said in an ESC news release.
Dr. Chris Gale is a professor of cardiovascular medicine at the University of Leeds and the study's senior author.
"All heart attack patients should be referred for cardiac rehabilitation unless their health care professional advises against it," Gale said. "If it isn't discussed, speak to your local health care professional to see if it is suitable for you."
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has more on cardiac rehabilitation.
SOURCE: European Society of Cardiology, news release, April 23, 2020