Get Off the Couch to Prevent Heart Failure

Published: January 29, 2015

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition in which the heart becomes too weak to pump enough blood through your arteries. This affects the amount of oxygen-rich blood in your body. Symptoms include fatigue, diminished exercise capacity, shortness of breath, and swelling. CHF can be caused by diseases that weaken the muscle of the heart, by diseases that cause the heart muscles to stiffen, or diseases that increase oxygen demanded by the body beyond what the heart can deliver.

Congestive heart failure can also affect many organs of the body. The kidneys may not receive enough blood, affecting their ability to excrete sodium and water, allowing the body to retain more fluid. The lungs can become congested with fluid. The intestines may not be able to remove toxins from the body. Swelling may also occur in the ankles or feet.

A new study has been completed by Kaiser Permanente in California with more than 80,000 subjects 45 years old and older over a 10 year period. It was determined that sitting too much is detrimental to cardiovascular health. Those individuals with low physical activity and prolonged time sitting had increased risks of both coronary heart disease and heart failure. Men with the lowest level of physical activity were twice as likely to develop heart failure than the most active group. Men that sat the most were also more than twice as likely to develop heart failure than those that sat the least. (This study was only completed with males, although it is assumed that females would have similar results.)

Low physical activity causes inadequate muscle contraction. This is associated with higher blood pressure, poor cholesterol levels, poor glucose metabolism, and poor body weight. These increase the risk of coronary heart disease and heart failure. In addition, being more active improves heart muscle structure and function.

Researchers say, "The message is: When you can walk instead of stand - walk. When you can stand instead of sit - stand."

The therapy staff on the Campus of Passavant Community can help you get back into exercise, improving your cardiac health. They are available on an outpatient basis at (724) 452-3492 or via home health services at (877) 862-6659.

Scroll To TopBack to top