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Cardiac Rehabilitation

Chances are, you don’t even know where the cardiac rehab center is at the Orange City Area Health System. That’s probably a good sign that you haven’t yet needed it! However, you or a loved one may very well encounter cardiac rehab at some point … and it’s a comfort to know that OCAHS offers a top-quality program, top-notch staff, and ultimate convenience.

Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program to help heart patients recover quickly and improve their overall physical, mental and social functioning. The goal is to stabilize, slow or even reverse the progression of cardiovascular disease.

We offer a range of services to both help patients recover and prevent further complications. Our cardiac rehab medical staff works with patients to start and maintain a personalized exercise program both on- and off-site, counsel them on nutrition and medications, and help them modify their risk factors such as high cholesterol and diabetes.

Dee Ann’s story could be any woman’s story …

Going Nowhere. Fast.

At 8:30am on most Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you can find Gwen Schuver and Mary Minten logging miles on the treadmill or Nu-step, going nowhere fast for about 30 minutes at a time in Cardiac Rehab. They both say the time goes a lot faster if you have someone to talk to.

Gwen has a long history of heart disease and atrial fibrillation. She has had four stents placed over the years. After her last stent, she was admitted to cardiac rehabilitation and has been coming back ever since. That was two years ago. “Dr. Wanner recommended that I keep it up,” said Gwen. (Dr. Wanner is one of the cardiologists from Cardiovascular Associates (CVA) that holds outreach clinics and consultations at Orange City Area Health System.) “I have a stationary bike at home that I do on the days I don’t come to rehab, but it is easy to skip that if I get busy.” Shannon Beaty, RN – cardiac rehab coordinator at Orange City Area Health System, says, “I always tease Gwen that if I don’t show up at rehab some morning, she can just take over for me.” Mary’s story is a bit different, but the two ladies spend rehab time together. Mary had her aortic valve replaced at Mayo Clinic this past July as a result of severe aortic stenosis. After 36 sessions of Phase II cardiac rehab, Mary committed to continuing with Phase III maintenance. “I saw Gwen coming consistently, so I figured I could do that too,” reported Mary. “It makes me feel better to know I have a registered nurse or my doctor available if I have problems with my heart.” Her daughter even bought her two punch cards as a birthday gift to use for Phase III cardiac rehab. Studies have shown that exercise is not only good for your heart, but it increases your longevity and keeps you independent longer. “Gwen is nicely into her 80s and can exercise for 30 minutes at a time,” Shannon said. “That’s an accomplishment!”

Studies have also shown that if you have a support person to exercise with, you are much more likely to keep it up. According to Shannon, “I think both ladies need to be commended for their commitment to keeping their hearts healthy.” So even though it looks like they’re going nowhere, Gwen and Mary are still doing their part to stay one step ahead of heart disease.