Feb. 15 marked the start of Cardiac Rehabilitation Week across the country. The 2010 theme for this week is “Building a Strong Heart: You can do it. We can help,” which reflects the dedication of cardiac rehab providers to improving the health of individuals at risk for heart disease or those already diagnosed with a heart condition.

Cardiac rehab has been shown to reduce re-hospitalization rates and recurrent sudden cardiac death, lessen the need for cardiac medications and increase the rate of return to work for the more than 100,000 Americans who take part in such programs each year. Locally, the Heartworks staff at Waldo County General Hospital works hard to assess patients’ needs and barriers, helps them set goals and enhance skills, and provides access to resources and support.

Unfortunately, some studies have shown that for every patient who participates in cardiac rehab after a heart attack or bypass surgery, there are four others who do not.

To learn more about cardiac rehab at WCGH, call 930-2545; visit wchi.com; or write Heartworks, WCGH-Cardiac Rehab, 118 Northport Ave. Belfast, ME 04915.