Heart Disease and Physical Therapy

Heart Disease and Physical Therapy

The leading killer in America is heart disease claiming over 600,000 lives a year. Cardiovascular disease complications include renal insufficiency, diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, sleeping disorders like obstructive and central apnea syndrome just to name a few. Other problems associated with heart disease include coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral arterial disease, heart failure, and high blood pressure or cholesterol.

It is imperative to reduce risk factors by making positive changes which physical therapy can help with such as exercise. Knowing your family or personal history of heart disease can be beneficial in knowing your risk. Other risk factors include smoking, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes and high cholesterol, obesity, lack of exercise, depression and stress. At our Moneta practice as in all our clinics the Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistants will help you identify risk factors as you they guide you in implementing an exercise program tailored to your specific needs.

Smoking increases a person’s risk two to four times for coronary heart disease and doubles a persons’ risk for a stroke and second hand smoke can be just as dangerous. A balanced diet and exercise are essential for reducing obesity. Physical therapy can help get you started with a safe exercise program to set reasonable goals. Trying to modify all risk factors all at once can be overwhelming and discouraging. But just losing five pounds can lower your blood pressure. Regular exercise also helps control blood sugar, reduce cravings, and ease arthritic pains to continue to motivate you to make positive changes. Just 30-60 minutes a day, even divided up into ten minute segments throughout the day can improve your health. It takes planning but even something as simple as parking further away from a store can give a few minutes of exercise and movement.
Diabetes, high blood pressure or cholesterol that requires medication should take extra steps to eat healthy while taking their medications and keeping up with routine screenings. Anyone with high risk factors should consult with their primary care doctor or cardiologist about prevention steps before beginning.

Stress reduction is huge as many in our modern society work too many hours, stay hurried and on the go without taking time for exercise, eat to quickly and the wrong foods. Some simple stress relievers exercise releases feel good endorphins, laugh more which fires and then cools down our stress response as the Bible says, “A merry heart does good like medicine…” Proverbs 17:22, interact socially with others away from work which provides a relaxing distraction as you help others, politely assert yourself rather than being a yes person which can lead to resentment and frustration which is suppressed anger, relaxation techniques prayer, Bible reading meditation, yoga are examples of getting away from stressors and refocusing, get enough sleep most adults need at least 7 hours and sleep deprivation is increasing in our fast paced society of being overly committed to too many things, keep a journal it is a great way to clear the mind of the clutters causing stress, play or listen to music which soothes the soul; or take up a relaxing noncompetitive hobby that forces you to focus on what you are doing not what you think you should be doing, seek counseling many times stress just overloads us and an outside view can help us see our need(s) in a different perspective, many employers have anonymous counseling available as a health benefit for employees. The earlier the changes are made the better the outcome so check with your doctor and seek physical therapy to help you get started to a new you.

Here at the Moneta clinic we like to help you set safe exercise goals as we instruct you through your therapy. We enjoy progressing you in your program while allowing you to enjoy the process by decreasing your stress and keeping a relaxing atmosphere.


If you are unsure if physical therapy is the right path for you, we also offer free 10 minute consultations with one of our Doctors of Physical Therapy who would be happy to answer any of your questions. Call 1-855-RACV4PT for a free 10 minute consultation or to schedule your appointment today!

We ARE Physical Therapy…Our Goal is Your Success

Contributed by Randy Dodge, LPTA -Moneta Practice

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