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Cardiac Rehab Highly Recommended for Mild Stroke Patients

Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association has reported that cardiac rehabilitation can be used for people who had transient ischemic attack (TIA). Colloquially known as mild or mini-stroke, TIA may cause little to no permanent brain injury. However, it can be a warning sign for subsequent and more serious strokes.

“Many of the risk factors that we worry about after a heart attack—high cholesterol, smoking, low exercise capacity, and high blood pressure—also concern us after a TIA,” Prof. Neville Suskin, M.B.Ch.B., M.Sc., of the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, says. “We know that cardiac rehab addresses these risk factors in patients with heart conditions and wondered whether it was feasible, effective, and safe for patients after TIA or mild stroke.”

Prof. Suskin assessed the risk factors for patients who had mild stroke during the previous year and found out that those who underwent outpatient cardiac rehab for nearly eight months significantly reduced their risk of having a stroke. The rehab process included programs relating to drug management, smoking cessation, nutrition education and dealing with psychological issues.

“While a TIA or mild stroke may seem small, in reality these events are crucial warning signs of possible catastrophic stroke or heart attack,” lead author Peter L. Prior, Ph.D., C.Psych., of the London Health Sciences Centre Cardiac Rehabilitation & Secondary Prevention Program and of the University of Western Ontario's Department of Psychology says. “Our study is novel because it shows that cardiac rehabilitation, involving structured programs in exercise, nutrition, smoking cessation and psychological services, is a feasible, potentially effective way for TIA or mild stroke patients to reduce their risk of strokes or heart attacks.”

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