Damage caused by heart failure and its targeted physical therapy

Sunday, September 8, 2019

/ by Hadiqa Ahmed

Damage caused by heart failure and its targeted physical therapy

Picture source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/342414377896181547/

Physical therapy is performed to improve the overall health of the patient. Major systems compromised due to long standing chronic heart failure are:

The circulatory system

Heart is the main organ that supplies blood to other tissues and organs. A long standing chronic heart failure condition can affect the normal supply of blood to these tissues. The care provided at home is as integral as given in the hospital premises. It is therefore essential to know about the tips when caring for a heart failure patient.

The Pulmonary system

The lungs and heart work in harmony to provide the body with oxygenated blood. Heart failure leads to pulmonary oedema due to the accumulation of blood in the air sacs. This can eventually lead to pulmonary failure too.

The Renal system (Kidneys)

Bean shaped kidneys play a role in "homeostasis" (maintenance of constant body environment). The heart of a patient with cardiovascular disease, does not have substantial ability to pump blood to the organs. Consequently. a high blood pressure is generated in the renal vein. This high blood pressure causes congestion in the kidneys.

So how can a heart failure patient avoid worsening this damage?

The solution to this question is: Cardiac physical therapy.


A complex medical intervention involves joint effort from various experts. The cardiac rehabilitation team includes:

*    Doctors

*    Nurses

*    Psychiatrists

*    Nutritionists

*    Pharmacists

Team may be composed of additional health professionals too.


The all-inclusive aim of the team is to help the patient in returning to his previous physical stability. Areas of work include:

Ø Reducing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease

Ø Enhancing the flexibility and strength of the heart muscles

Ø Recommending regular mental therapy sessions

Ø Tailoring a nutrition guide

Ø Training the patient to be independent

1. Reducing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease

The major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are well known. But most people choose to stay ignorant and end up experiencing an unfortunate event of cardiac failure.

An open heart surgery can be indicated in a compound heart failure. Measures you should take after an open heart surgery, involve keeping a track of the risk factors associated with the disease.

One aim of the Rehabilitation team is to advise patients in cutting down the amount of high sugar, high fat and high salt diets. All of these are paramount risk factors causing heart failure.

Smoking after an incident of heart failure is highly discouraged because tobacco can deteriorate the condition further more, by causing fat deposition in vessels.

2. Enhancing the flexibility and strength of heart muscles

A set of exercises is designed to improve heart rate and strengthen cardiac muscles. Aerobic exercises target heart rate while lifting weight and exercising with bands, reinforce heart muscles.

Patients of cardiovascular disease might face difficulty at first, but a dedicated struggle can have beneficial outcomes. Rating of perceived exertion or RPE of the patient is monitored constantly, with the aim of discovering the maximum capacity of his body to continue physical activity.

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3. Recommending regular mental therapy sessions

Together with training the patient to strengthen himself physically, a psychiatrist is appointed to keep a check of any mental instability. Mental health is still a taboo and people suffering from depression often find it difficult to seek a professional's health.

But the Cardiac rehabilitation team makes sure that the mental trauma encountered by the patient or his family members, is effectively dealt with.

4. Tailoring a nutrition guide

Healthy diet! Healthy diet! Healthy diet!. We can not stress more on the importance of a healthy diet, especially for an individual with a chronic heart failure.

A good amount of fruits and vegetables are a gateway to fitness. Intake of red meat must be reduced and fish must be consumed for proteins instead.

Foods playing a role of risk factors for cardiovascular disease must be kept to a minimum or other alternatives must be adopted in place of them.

5. Training the patient to be independent

The foremost aim of the cardiac rehabilitation is to make the patient understand his heart. Most deaths occur due to failure of recognizing symptoms. Patients arriving in the Rehab are taught how to keep a check on their heart rate and pulse.

Along with this, they are told about the Rating of perceived exertion. This information helps them in recognizing the amount of exercises they can withstand.

 This is all regarding the topic. For any questions, ask us in the comment section below.

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