Heart Failure Patients Have Everything to Gain from Cardiac Rehab
Although chronic heart failure can limit endurance, exercise may be just what the doctor ordered to help patients feel better and live longer.
For the 6.5 million Americans affected by heart failure, improving quality of life is top priority. This chronic condition can rob patients of their ability to exercise and make simple tasks like walking around the house seem just short of impossible. Despite limitations that heart failure often places on mobility, researchers found that exercise is just what the doctor ordered to help heart failure patients feel better and live longer.
A paper recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology reviewed the latest scientific evidence on heart failure and cardiac rehabilitation exercise training. Although exercise training is known to help some patients improve quality of life and outcomes, experts wondered about possible risks that may be associated with such therapy. Could exercise increase risk for complications from the very condition they’re trying to treat?
After weighing the risks and benefits, authors conclude that cardiac rehab exercise training and self-care counseling is extremely beneficial for heart failure patients. Not only do these therapies increase patients’ abilities to exercise, minimize symptoms like fatigue, and improve quality of life, cardiac rehab helps decrease risk for cardiac events. And based on these findings, investigators support better insurance coverage for heart failure patients who could benefit from cardiac rehab and self-care counseling.
Whether insurance coverage will improve has yet to be seen, but findings are promising for heart failure patients. Tailored exercise programming is a great opportunity for patients to work closely with their healthcare providers to improve quality of life and outcomes. Although exercise isn’t right for all patients, especially those with severe heart failure, it’s nice to know that something as simple as physical activity can be added to our arsenal of therapies to help patients with heart failure live better, longer.
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