Heart and Vascular

Enhanced Cardiac Rehab Program Helps Patients Take Control of Their Health

Jun 2 2021
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According to the World Health Organization, 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes can be prevented through healthier lifestyle choices. This is why Mercy Health – Springfield Regional Medical Center and Mercy Health – Urbana Hospital recently enhanced their intensive cardiac rehab program and now use the Pritikin ICR™ (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) Program.

Pritikin’s evidence-based lifestyle program helps patients with cardiovascular disease focus on their at-home habits and overall mindset on healthy choices. Patients then learn how changes in diet and exercise can provide incredible long-term outcomes.

The skills taught using the Pritikin program are based on three pillars:

  • safe, effective exercise
  • a balanced eating plan based on minimally-processed, whole foods
  • a healthy mindset which fosters overall healthy choices

“Both healthy eating and exercise are choices each of us make every day. These lifestyle changes can dramatically improve the quality of life for those living with cardiovascular disease,” says Lori Baugh, director of cardiovascular services at Mercy Health.

The Pritikin program is one of only two Medicare-approved, evidence-based rehab programs that promote long-term well-being following a serious heart event such as a heart attack, bypass or valve surgery, chest pain, amongst others.

“Even the smallest changes in diet and exercise that this new program helps educate patients on can have the ability to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve blood pressure and regulate blood sugars,” says Dr. Akber Mohammed, one of our cardiologists.

Patients interested in this program can start immediately once cleared and referred by their primary care provider. The program can be completed in as little as eight weeks to 18 weeks, based on the availability and lifestyle of the patient.

“The patient helps drive the curriculum and timeline, helping further reinforce their control in their own health,” shares Lori.

In addition to nutrition and exercise, the program also provides education and training around handling stress which is another critical part of a cardiac patient’s long-term disease management.

“This program builds on a long-standing commitment to cardiac rehab at Mercy Health,” Dr. Mohammed says. “The impact and positive outcomes have made a difference in those we serve, and we are excited to continue the legacy of lasting lifestyle changes for heart health.”

For more information or to learn if you can enroll in this program, please reach out to Mercy Health – Springfield Cardiac Rehabilitation.

Also, learn more about the heart and vascular services we offer at Mercy Health.


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