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How Physical Therapy Helps Support Heart Health

Sep 25, 2021

Did you know that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States? It is a surprising and frustrating statistic because much of heart disease is preventable. There are many ways you can support a healthy heart, from practicing a healthy lifestyle to engaging in regular physical therapy. The heart pumps blood through the body and is what keeps us going every single day. Any issue with the heart should be taken very seriously because it can lead to serious problems or even death. That’s why you want to do everything you can to avoid heart disease.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

There are many risk factors for heart disease, including some that are within your control and some that are not. Certain risk factors for heart disease, like a family history of heart disease, is not something you can control. Though it is very helpful for you to know your family medical history and whether or not heart disease is something you should know about. Age and gender can also be risk factors for heart disease, and older, white males are more likely to develop heart disease than women. However, after menopause, the risk of heart disease in women becomes equal to that of men.

Certain risk factors for heart disease that you can control include smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity. Regular smoking doesn’t just affect your lungs; it also negatively impacts your heart and healthy circulation in the body. Physical inactivity means you are not moving your body around as much. When you aren’t regularly exercising or engaging in regular physical activity, your heart isn’t getting as much of a workout. The heart is a muscle and heart-healthy exercises get your blood pumping. Too much weight can also put additional pressure and strain on your heart. Other risk factors for heart disease that are within your control include high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Types of Heart Disease

There are many types of heart disease that can end up affecting your heart health. An arrhythmia is one type of heart condition that refers to irregular heartbeats, like your heart beating too quickly, too slowly, or even irregularly. Atherosclerosis is a disease that affects the arteries where plaques and fatty materials build up on the walls. This can obstruct blood flow and cause the heart to work harder. Cardiomyopathy is a disease that affects the heart muscle and makes the heart work harder to pump blood through your body. This condition can also lead to heart failure. Coronary artery disease is perhaps the most common and well-known type of heart disease, which refers to the narrowing of arteries that ends up limiting blood flow.

Chronic Pain and Heart Disease

You might be surprised to learn that chronic pain can also contribute to heart disease. People with chronic pain are at higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke than people without chronic pain. Poor heart health, like too much stress on the heart or lack of regular physical activity, can contribute to chronic pain. People develop and experience chronic pain for a number of reasons: an acute injury from a car accident, an overuse injury from a particular sport, or a health condition like arthritis with pain as a main symptom. You don’t have to live with chronic pain, and physical therapists work with people who struggle with chronic pain. Physical therapy provides a heart-healthy focus on managing your pain and getting you moving again. Physical therapy focuses on treating your pain and injury or condition through improving mobility, functioning, and strength. Learn techniques for reducing your pain while improving your strength and mobility when you see a physical therapist for an injury or health condition that is causing you chronic pain.

Physical Therapy and Heart Disease

Physical therapy helps you stay active by practicing exercises that help reduce your pain and get your heart rate up. Getting your blood pumping helps to bring oxygen and nutrients to injured or damaged areas in the body. Physical therapy also encourages regular physical activity that not only helps to reduce chronic pain but also offers greater support for your heart and circulation. If you have heart disease, then visit AICA Orthopedics in Atlanta and meet with one of our physical therapists to learn more about how we can help you stay active and support a healthy heart


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