Females-only cardiac rehab helps reduce anxiety, depression

Toronto, Feb 4 (IANS) Women suffering from heart disease — a leading cause of death for women globally — benefit from all forms of cardiac rehab. But female-only cardiac rehab resulted in significantly lower symptoms of anxiety and depression as well as improvements in diet in women with heart problems, a new study has found.

Improvement in diet was noted among women heart patients attending women-only programmes, the researchers said. Also, self-reported physical activity increased and quality of life improved among women who attended such programmes, the findings showed.

“Diet improved and depressive and anxious symptoms were lower with women-only cardiac rehabilitation participation,” said Sherry L. Grace from York University in Toronto, Canada.

Women who have an acute coronary heart event were more likely to die or to suffer complications during the initial recovery period than men, but were less likely to make use of cardiac rehabilitation programmes, revealed the study.

A recent analysis showed what while 45 percent of men enroll in these programmes, only 39 percent of women do.

“We need to get more women to cardiac rehab, and let them choose the type of programme they will be most likely to stick with,” the researchers suggested in the study published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

The researchers compared health behaviours and psychosocial outcomes of women randomly allocated to women’s-only cardiac rehabilitation programmes with women allocated to participation in traditional mixed-sex (co-ed) or home-based programmes.

At the end of rehab, women who had attended mixed-sex programmes exhibited higher levels of anxious and depressive symptoms than patients in women-only programmes.

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