Sunday, November 29, 2009

Adding exercise to the patient with congestive heart failure

People with congestive heart failure should exercise?

I’m going to preface this post with the fact that I am a personal trainer. Not a physician. This post is based on the scientific research and observations that I have personally done. I encourage everyone reading to consult with their physician before starting an exercise program.

First, I’ll start off by explaining what congestive heart failure is. Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a condition where the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. This usually will result in a condition known as cardio myopathy (enlargement of the heart). Basically, what happens is the heart is unable to pump out all of the blood that enters it, causing it to swell.

Here is a picture of what a normal heart looks like compared to an enlarged one:

There are six main causes of CHF. They are:

Ischemic Heart Disease 62%
Cigarette Smoking 16%
Hypertension 10%
Obesity 8%
Diabetes 3%
Valvular Heart Disease 2%

*It should also be noted that smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are all major causes of Ischemic Heart Disease.

The old school of thought was that a person with CHF would be doomed to spend the rest of their time bed ridden. Now we know that is not the case. Exercise has been shown to not only increase quality of life, but also quantity of life in individuals with CHF. Further more, it has been shown that adding resistance training to a patients rehab protocol very beneficial in helping to increase their quality of life. For more research on resistance training and CHF, click here:

It is very important that the CHF patient seek out professional advice when it comes to their exercise programming. Here is one thing to keep in mind, currently; there are no requirements to determine who can be a personal trainer, and who cannot. Any Joe Schmoe can buy a weight set and call themselves a personal trainer. So, it is very important that the patient do some research and make sure that his or her trainer is qualified to write their program. Here are some certifications to look for:

National Strength and Conditioning Association – CSCS or CPT
American College of Sports Medicine - HFI
National Academy of Sports Medicine – NASM – CPT

Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Heart Failure is a condition that happens when a heart does not have the ability to pump an adequate amount of blood throughout the body and organs. There are many symptoms of heart failure which include wheezing, weight gain, frequent night urination, swelling of legs, difficult in sleeping etc. Excessive smoking, drinking, eating can lead to heart failure. It is very dangerous. For more details refer symptoms of heart failure epidemic