Heart and lung rehab expands

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Islanders recovering from a heart or lung event in Prince County can now rehabilitate closer to home.
The cardiopulmonary rehab program recently expanded from Charlottetown to Summerside and patients are now benefitting from the newly offered services. Following this success, planning is now underway for a Montague-based service. In Prince Edward Island, an estimated 1,200 people experience an acute cardiac event each year and more than 700 live with chronic lung disease.
“Heart Health Month in February is an opportunity to raise awareness about heart disease and highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle and appropriate treatment,” Health and Wellness Minister Robert Henderson said. “By expanding the new rehab program we will help more cardiac patients regain their strength and confidence faster, supported not just by health professionals but also Islanders who are dealing with the same challenges every day.”
The 12-week program benefits people who are recovering from a cardiac event such as a heart attack or heart surgery, as well as Islanders living with a pulmonary condition such as chronic lung disease. Referral to the cardio-pulmonary rehab program can be done through a physician or nurse practitioner.
“Cardiovascular and pulmonary rehabilitation is an important component of chronic disease management and is considered an essential element of cardiac and chronic lung disease care, especially following an acute event,” says Dr. André Celliers, chief of Family and Community Medicine.  “As a family physician, I encourage Islanders to speak with their health care provider about their heart and lung health and consider ways to reduce their risk of developing related diseases.”
Cardiovascular diseases are those of the heart and circulatory system, and include coronary artery disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and valvular heart disease. Examples of chronic lung disease include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and adult asthma.
“We are delighted to learn that Islanders in western PEI will be able to access these rehabilitation services close to home,” said CEO Charlotte Comrie of Heart and Stroke, PEI and Nova Scotia, of the decision to expand the cardio-pulmonary rehab program to Summerside. “Already there are positive results from the program in Charlottetown, and we are sure that this expansion will result in better health with fewer readmission rates and improved quality of life for those living with cardiovascular disease in PEI.”
Islanders are also benefitting from new heart testing services introduced at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital last year, leading to more timely diagnoses and treatment for individuals living with heart conditions or risk factors for heart conditions. In 2016, 153 Islanders accessed these services that were previously only available out-of-province. 
For more information about chronic disease prevention and management, including risk factors, visit www.healthpei.ca/icdpm

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Media contact:
Amanda Hamel
Senior Communications Officer
Health PEI
(902) 368-6135

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