CHESTERTOWN — Join University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown during National Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, Feb. 9 to 15, to celebrate the lifesaving impact of cardiac rehabilitation.

UM SMC at Chestertown will host several public events during the week to honor the role of cardiac rehabilitation in reducing the potentially devastating effects of heart disease and improving quality of life for patients and their families. Events, taught by Cardiac Rehab team members, include:

• Free, drop-in blood pressure screenings from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Wednesday through February in the UM SMC at Chestertown’s Center for Cardiopulmonary Fitness and Wellness.

• A free Friends and Family CPR course, perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to save a life but does not require certification. The event will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 12, in the conference room at UM SMC at Chestertown. RSVP is required.

• A free discussion about the risk factors for a heart attack and heart disease, and the heart-healthy changes you can make to lead a heathier life. This event will take place from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, in the conference center at UM SMC at Chestertown. RSVP is required.

All programs are free and open to the public, and will be held in the Conference Center located on the second floor of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown, 100 Brown St., unless otherwise noted. For planning purposes, RSVP to the Cardiac Rehab team at 410-778-3300, ext. 2222, or sherrie.hill@umm.edu.

Cardiac Rehabilitation Week, initiated by the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation, coincides with Valentine’s Day, Cardiovascular Professionals Week and American Heart Month in an effort to draw greater national attention to heart health. This year’s Cardiac Rehab Week theme, “New Start, Better Heart,” honors the patients, families and health care professionals who are dedicated to cardiac rehabilitation as a vehicle for a healthy lifestyle.

Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation programs are available at UM Shore Medical Centers at Chestertown, Dorchester and Easton, and provide a safe and supervised setting for cardiac rehabilitation and pulmonary rehabilitation. Patients who have had a heart attack, heart failure, stable angina, heart transplant, bypass surgery, valve replacement, angioplasty or stent implantation will benefit from cardiac rehabilitation. A personalized plan incorporates education for the patient and their loved ones to explain specific health issues, outline a personal exercise program and identify other specialty areas to improve risk factors. This may include a heart-healthy diet and nutrition, effective weight control measures, stress management and smoking cessation.

The program is typically one-hour sessions, three times a week for up to 18 weeks, under close medical supervision. Patients who have hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure and peripheral artery disease can take advantage of a long-term maintenance program.

For more information on this program, visit www.umshoreregional.org/cardiac_rehab.

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