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Why is it important to have a healthy heart?

Your heart is responsible for pumping blood with oxygen and nutrients to other vital organs and tissues of your body. Within a 66 year lifetime, this muscular organ will beat approximately 2.5 billion times, pumping 4.9-5.6 L of blood per minute around your body.

Your health and vitality relies on the effective functioning of your cardiovascular system. There are a number of different conditions that can affect the function of the heart, some of these are congenital and some of these conditions are related to lifestyle choices, that is, they can be prevented!

Did you know that exercise can not only prevent, but it can also help treat and alleviate symptoms of a number of cardiovascular conditions?

 

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What types of conditions affect the cardiovascular system?

There are several life-threatening diseases that can affect the function of the heart. The most common of those are:

  • Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) – occurs when the heart no longer effectively pumps blood to the lungs and the rest of the body. The most common causes of CHF are heart attacks, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) – affects the blood flow of the coronary arteries around the heart which supply oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscle. CHD is almost always caused by fatty deposit build up in the vessels.

 

Symptoms

  • Heart Attack – happens when there is a sudden blockage to an artery that supplies blood to an area of the heart.
  • Hypertension (High blood pressure) – is the pressure of your blood in your arteries as the heart pumps it around your body. Hypertension may not cause any symptoms, which is why it is sometimes referred to as a ‘silent killer’.
  • Stroke – occurs when an artery supplying blood to a part of the brain becomes blocked or bursts.
  • Cardiomyopathy – is where your heart muscle becomes enlarged, inflamed and weakened, and it can no longer pump blood around the body as fast as it should. This condition leads to CHF.
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Can I exercise with a heart condition?

Regular low to moderate-intensity exercise for people with CHD prevents the blood vessels narrowing further, prevents blood clotting, increases delivery of blood to the heart and helps maintain a normal heart rhythm. It is strongly recommended you consult your doctor prior to engaging in any exercise program.

These changes reduce the load on the heart at rest and during exercise, which helps to lesson some of the symptoms of CHD.

Get in touch with an AAP Accredited Exercise Physiologist for more advice!

 

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