What Really Helps Older Patients with Heart Disease

Physical activity may boost independence, heart health in older patients with heart disease

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(RxWiki News) For older adults with heart disease, physical activity is key to staying independent and promoting heart health, according to a statement from the American Heart Association (AHA).

The AHA scientific statement stressed the importance of physical activity for improving heart health, quality of life and independence in older adults who have heart disease.

Exercise can help reduce the risk of heart failure symptoms, strokes and heart attacks, according to the AHA. It may also slow down or stop declines in muscle strength and balance related to age.

The AHA also encouraged cardiac rehabilitation programs for older adults with heart disease, noting that only a third or fewer of eligible older patients with heart disease were in such programs.

“Cardiac rehabilitation is not prescribed often enough,” said Dr. Daniel E. Forman, the chair of the AHA panel behind the new statement, in a press release. “When treating cardiac patients in their 70s, 80s and 90s, health care providers often stress medications and procedures without considering the importance of getting patients back on their feet, which is exactly what cardiac rehabilitation programs are designed to do.”

Although moderate physical activity like brisk walking is safe for most people, it's important to talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

This scientific statement was published in the journal Circulation.

Information on funding sources and potential conflicts of interest was not available at the time of publication.