At 74 years old, George Kaerth, a retired insurance company executive, enjoyed an active life with his wife, Mary. In 2012, his life came to a halt when his health unexpectedly changed.
Kaerth started experiencing shortness of breath and odd feelings in his chest. Over the next four years he had several procedures to help alleviate his heart problems. The final procedure was a pacemaker to help control the abnormal rhythm of his heart.
His doctor recommended him to Sharp Memorial Hospital, told him he needed to improve his physical activity to help maintain a healthy heart.
“I realized that I needed a program to help me start exercising because I wasn’t going to do it myself,” says Kaerth.
He was referred to the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sharp Memorial.
The program is recommended for patients with a history of chest pain and for those who’ve experienced angioplasty, heart attack, heart surgery or heart failure. Patients who participate in the program may lower their risk of future cardiac events, improve their stamina and strength, and increase their quality of life.
Patients start with a health evaluation and the results are used to create a personalized exercise plan. Participants have the support of doctors, nurses, exercise physiologists and nutrition specialists throughout the program.
The weekly exercise sessions helped Kaerth stay dedicated to improving his health.
“I was supposed to be there Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 to 10:30 am, and with that kind of regimen, I never missed an appointment,” says Kaerth.
At the end of his 12-week program, Kaerth lost 10 pounds, decreased his shortness of breath and increased his endurance.
“The activities my wife and I were doing before I got sick — attending sports games, going to the theater and traveling — stopped, but now I am back at it,” says Kaerth. “I feel like I’m a proper partner for my wife again.”
Kaerth joined the cardiac rehabilitation Fit for Life Program to stay active. It helps him keep up his exercise routine with limited supervision from an exercise physiologist.
“My goal now is to maintain the progress I have achieved — I feel great!” says Kaerth.
For more information about the Cardiac Rehabilitation Program at Sharp HealthCare, visit www.sharp.com/cardiacrehab.