A healthy beat with cardiac rehab - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A healthy beat with cardiac rehab

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Dennis and Candy during cardiac rehab Dennis and Candy during cardiac rehab

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- Heart procedure does not end with a hospital discharge. These days cardiac rehabilitation is a key part of recovery.

A year ago Denny Schmidt never dreamed he'd end up here. The 63-year-old had a heart attack while out to dinner in Cedar Falls.

"I knew something was not right and so I said, 'You know what? It's time to go'," said Schmidt.

He credits god and the medical team at Covenant Medical Center in Waterloo for saving his life that time. But his cardiac rehabilitation convinced him he can stay heart healthy for life. Yet it was a program he almost skipped.

"I'm busy, man. I got things to do. Places to go," said Schmidt.

Enter Candy Steele. She heads up Covenant's cardiac rehab program.

"And this is one of the things she said, 'I'm going to talk to you like I do my husband," and, I thought, oh, okay now I'm starting to get the message," said Schmidt, "'cause usually when a wife talks to the husband it's kinda , you know, one of them kind of talks you sit up and you get the message."

Denny says her stern but compassionate approach convinced him to do it. The result: He's dropped more than fifty pounds.

"The reality is that heart disease is still there," said Steele. "They may now have an open vessel but the heart disease is still there."

Steele says about half of heart patients balk at rehab--until they understand its benefits.

"We like to refer to more, rather than cardiac rehab as secondary prevention 'cause what we're trying to do is prevent another event," said Steele.

Denny is grateful he can manage his disease confidently.

"And I have a second chance," he said. "I have a second chance."

This is national cardiac rehabilitation week.

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