Cardiovascular disease is America’s number one killer; as you age, the chances of complications only increase. Cardiovascular diseases are those affecting the heart and circulatory system, and includes heart disease, stroke, and raised blood pressure. Unfortunately, about one in three deaths are due to stroke or heart disease. Those who do live with cardiovascular disease face a multitude of challenges.

After a hospitalization or while living with a chronic cardiovascular condition, your goal is to recover and take preventative measures against future problems. Along with medications and improved diets, physical therapy can offer great benefits for those with cardiovascular disease.

At Access Physical Therapy and Wellness, both aerobic conditioning and strength training are used to help prevent death and disability from cardiovascular disease. Trained professionals create a personalized treatment plan for your individual needs. Lifestyle changes can make a difference. Physical therapists are experts in prescribing these as part of a structured, safe, and effective program in conjunction with your physician and other healthcare providers.

A physical therapist can help you create a heart-healthy exercise regime. Exercises like jogging or brisk walking and resistance training of the muscles will significantly reduce blood pressure for men and women, creating better outcomes for your long-term health. Such reductions in blood pressure, in turn, reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Just walking most days of the week is likely responsible for a 46% reduction of the chance of stroke according to one study by the World Health Organization.

For victims of a stroke, physical therapy is an essential part of the recovery process. Because certain parts of the brain lack oxygen for an extended period of time, its ability to control the body’s muscles is impaired. Careful and guided therapy helps stroke survivors keep the muscles active during the first weeks and months of recovery. Early recovery and rehabilitation can improve functions and sometimes remarkable recoveries for someone who suffered a stroke. Then, as voluntary movement returns, the therapy focuses on relearning motor skills and retraining the brain to control the arms and legs.

Independence for a stroke survivor is the goal of any physical therapist. Everyone deserves dignity for themselves and the ability to perform basic skills like bathing, eating, dressing, and walking that a stroke may have impacted.

Overall, reviews of scientific evidence have shown that therapeutic exercise provided by physical therapists is beneficial to people with heart disease. The expert advice provided by physical therapists can help bring patients who may have once faced permanent disability, a return to usual roles in life. Physical therapists help people achieve a return to work, education, community participation, and a sense of normalcy.