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Cardiac Rehabilitation Care: What to Focus On During Your Recovery

Elderly couple walking togetherCardiovascular disease remains the number one cause of death in the United States. It’s no wonder heart health is talked about so much and why there is an entire week in the month of March dedicated to Cardiac Rehabilitation. With this in mind, we want to give you the top things to focus on when recovering after a heart attack.

Recover with Exercise and Physical Therapy

Exercise and physical therapy, specifically to strengthen your cardiovascular system is a great place to start. After consulting with your doctor, they may suggest aerobic and resistance exercise training for you. Your exercises should be specifically developed for what you are able to do and what is safe. The objective of exercise-based training it to get your heart pumping. Regular exercise may even reduce stress! Working out can have a positive impact on your overall mood and can improve your quality of life.

Start Heart-Healthy Living

What is heart-healthy living? This may be a term you hear often after going through something like a heart attack. To keep it in simple terms, it’s living each day making small choices that positively affect your heart health. Small steps to protect your heart health include avoiding things like tobacco, eating a well-balanced diet with more fruits and vegetables and limiting red meats and sweets. Making conscious decisions like taking stairs instead of an elevator; or eating an apple instead of ice cream seems small but each one of those choices is like choosing to care for your heart.

Manage Stress

Counseling and stress management is the third step to a successful cardiac rehabilitation program. Stress effects people in different ways but for every person, stress can contribute negatively on your health. Excess stress can lead to high blood pressure and can contribute to heart disease. Avoiding stress and learning to manage depression has shown to help in the prevention of a second heart attack. Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional about psychological and social therapies to manage your stress. Knowing how to properly recover after a heart attack is essential but keep in mind that prevention from a second attack is possible.

Turn to Your Support Team

Cardiac rehabilitation is a team effort, it includes yourself, your family or friends, and your health care support. Utilizing your support team during your recovery can have a huge impact on the future health of your heart. If you or a loved one needs assistance with care contact Elmhurst Extended Care Center at (630) 516-5000.


7 Delicious Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy

February is American Heart Month, and we’re celebrating by sharing with you 7 foods that can help keep your heart healthy and ticking all year long – and the best part is these foods actually TASTE GOOD!

1. Berries

Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are all incredibly packed nutrient powerhouses that play a key role in heart health. Studies show that eating regular servings of berries can reduce multiple risk factors for heart disease.

Berries help reduce inflammation and bad cholesterol, both contributors to heart disease. They also can improve the function of cells that line your blood vessels, which helps in controlling blood pressure as well as blood clotting.

2. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a GREAT source of delicious food for keeping your heart healthy. In fact, a large study conducted revealed that people that consumed dark chocolate at least five times per week lowered their risk of coronary heart disease by 57% as opposed to those who didn’t eat any chocolate.

Dark chocolate is helpful in decreasing calcified plaque buildup in your arteries, but while it is delicious, it’s important to not consume more than necessary.

3. Oatmeal

The oats in oatmeal are some of the healthiest grains on the planet. Oatmeal provides an excellent source of necessary vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants – all important for keeping your heart at its best.

Studies have shown that oatmeal provides many benefits for heart health including weight loss, lower blood sugar levels, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Add some berries to yours for an extra kick of heart-healthy power!

4. Almonds

Almonds are both delicious and powerful in the effort to prevent heart disease. Not only do they contain a multitude of vitamins and minerals necessary to heart health, but almonds are a great source of healthy fats – helping to reduce bad cholesterol levels and lower your risk for heart disease.

Just like dark chocolate, almonds are a tasty treat. However, they are high in calories, so moderation is key.

5. Tomatoes

No matter which way you look at it – a fruit or a vegetable – tomatoes are as heart-healthy as their beautiful red color suggests.

Tomatoes hold a key ingredient for your heart health – lycopene. Lycopene is an extremely powerful antioxidant that helps prevent oxidative damage and inflammation, both large contributors to heart disease. The more lycopene you have in your blood, the lower your risk becomes for heart attack and stroke.

6. Walnuts

Almonds aren’t the only food in the nut family that are great for keeping your heart healthy. Walnuts are a fantastic source as well!

Walnuts provide ample fiber, magnesium, copper, and manganese – all of which help protect against heart disease. In fact, research has shown incorporating a few servings of walnuts into your regular diet can help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol.

7. Oranges

Oranges are the fruit you want in your corner in the fight against heart disease, and with no fat, cholesterol, or sodium, they make for the perfect heart-healthy snack!

Oranges contain an explosive amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the cells in your body from free radicals (things like environmental pollution, cigarette smoke, and stress). Free radicals are known for contributing to heart disease. Just be sure not to overdo it when enjoying this juicy fruit. Consuming too much vitamin C a day can lead to adverse effects.

*Those taking beta-blockers should speak with your doctor before consuming oranges as they are high in potassium.

February is American Heart Month

Did you know heart disease is the #1 killer of women? Find out more about American Heart Month and how you can fight back against heart disease for yourself and your loved ones.

Searching for the best nursing home in Elmhurst for your loved one? Look no further. Elmhurst Extended Care Center is a family-centered facility with expert staff, around-the-clock care, and an excellent short-term rehabilitation program perfect for anyone recovering from heart issues. Contact us to schedule a tour today.

February 2020 Newsletter

February might be a shorter month, but we have plenty of fun packed in at Elmhurst Extended Care Center. Join us this month for our very own Academy Awards celebration on the 10th at 2:45pm. We’ll also be featuring music by Nicola on the 13th, and don’t miss our King and Queen crowning on Valentine’s Day at 4pm! Check out our latest newsletter for all the fun happening at EECC in February:

3 Types of Pulmonary Infections and What to Look For

Your lungs’ primary function is to deliver clean oxygen to your blood. When you have a pulmonary infection, it makes it much harder for the oxygen to reach your bloodstream.

Nearly 65 million people worldwide suffer from chronic pulmonary disease brought on by pulmonary infections. It’s important for you to understand 3 major types of pulmonary infections and what to look for to better protect your health.

1. Asthma

While it may not sound like your typical infection, asthma plays a large role in pulmonary infections because it causes difficulty breathing due to inflammation in the airways. Patients who have asthma are at an even greater risk of complications regarding pulmonary infections because their airways are already restricted.

Asthma Signs and Symptoms to Look for

Chronic dry cough, shortness of breath, and chest tightness and/or pain are all common symptoms of asthma. You may also notice a whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling.

How to Treat Asthma

Asthma is typically managed with the use of inhalers. An inhaler will contain two types of medicine to control your asthma symptoms: albuterol to treat your symptoms and a steroid to help prevent worsening of your symptoms.

2. Bronchitis

Your bronchial tubes carry oxygen to and from your lungs, so when they become infected, it creates a pulmonary infection known as bronchitis. Left unchecked, bronchitis can develop into a more serious infection known as pneumonia. Bronchitis is typically brought on by a viral infection, which means antibiotics won’t be of any help.

Bronchitis Signs and Symptoms to Look for

This pulmonary infection causes a cough that produces mucus. Watch for mucus that is either clear, white, yellowish-gray, or green in color. When suffering from bronchitis, you will feel short of breath and may experience some chest discomfort as well as fatigue.

How to Treat Bronchitis

Because antibiotics won’t cure this pulmonary infection, those with bronchitis should focus on implementing soothing remedies to help alleviate your coughing. Getting enough rest is imperative in recovering from bronchitis. Sleep is shown to help boost the immune system, making recovery that much quicker. You’ll also want to increase your fluid intake. A humidifier will help loosen the mucus so it can drain. Keep a vapor or steam humidifier close by and run it at night when you sleep.

If your cough is severe and lasts for more than 3 weeks, your mucus contains blood, or you are experiencing chest pains, it’s important to see your doctor right away.


COPD is a serious pulmonary disease and is the third-highest cause of death in America. Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are both categorized as COPD. Emphysema is a lung condition where the air sacs of the lungs become damaged. Chronic bronchitis affects the bronchial tubes themselves.

COPD Signs and Symptoms to Look for

Identifying signs and symptoms for COPD early is important. If you’ve had bronchitis, look for increased shortness of breath, increased mucus, fever, sore throat, and unusual sinus drainage.

How to Treat COPD

There is currently no cure for COPD. However, you can easily manage this pulmonary infection if you properly treat it. Quitting smoking and/or avoiding secondhand smoke is extremely helpful in protecting your lungs from additional issues with COPD. It’s also a good idea to keep your home clean and free of allergens as much as possible.

For more tips on how to avoid COPD, check out this blog post.

There’s a reason we’re so knowledgeable about the prevention and treatment of pulmonary infections. Elmhurst Extended Care Center has our very own Respiratory Therapist on staff. Call or schedule your tour today for the best nursing home facility in Elmhurst.

January 2020 Newsletter

Happy New Year from all of us at Elmhurst Extended Care Center!

January is the month we’re planning our resolutions and goals for the year. Why not make it a resolution to spend more time with your loved one this year? Check out our latest newsletter to see all the fun happening, and come on by to join your loved one in any of our daily activities.