Heart failure can be caused by a multitude of factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, and the pre-existance of cardiovascular disease. However, recently researchers have found that improved physical fitness may be especially effective in the treatment obesity, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease, thereby decreasing the rates of heart failure. This article discusses some great ways that you can use fitness to prevent heart failure.
One of the most important ways that fitness can work to prevent the development of heart failure is through weight loss. Research has found that obesity is a major contributor to the development of heart failure–and therefore, by losing a few pounds, you may be able to prevent this potentially fatal condition. And while weight loss can seem like a daunting task, you don’t need to lose a whole lot of weight in order to see results. In fact, some medical professionals have found that a weight loss of as little as 10% of your current body weight is effective in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Finally, losing weight can also help to decrease some other chronic diseases, including diabetes, and even some types of cancer.
Increased Cardiac Output
Another way that fitness can help prevent heart failure is through an increased cardiac output. In order to understand how fitness affects cardiac output, you must learn what cardiac output is. Cardiac output is designed as the amount of blood that enters the heart multiplied by the force with which this blood is expelled out of the heart to the rest of the body. People who have died from heart failure have a cardiac output that is substantially decreased due to either the inability of the valves of the heart to open completely, thereby preventing the heart to fill entirely with blood, or because the heart is not strong enough to completely expel all of the blood from the heart. If you have a decreased cardiac output, not only can you develop heart failure, but you may also experience less serious day to day complications such as fatigue, weight gain, and shortness of breath. Increasing your current fitness level helps to strengthen the heart, thereby allowing the vessels to open completely and allowing the heart to fill completely with blood. It also strengthens the heart enough that it is able to pump all of the blood out into the rest of the body.
Decreased Blood Pressure
A final way that fitness can work to prevent the development of heart failure is through decreased blood pressure. Research has found that cardiovascular exercise is especially beneficial in achieving these results. In fact, the American Medical Association recommends that individuals who have been diagnosed with some type of cardiovascular disease (such as heart failure) should participate in at least 60 minutes of cardiovascular exercise most days of the week. Always be sure to consult with your doctor, nurse, or health care provider before starting a new exercise program in order to make sure you are healthy enough to exercise.