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Can PT Help Prevent Heart Disease

Can PT Help Prevent Heart Disease?

by J. Cory Silver, PT, DPT, VRT, CAFS, 3DMAPSLeave a Comment

The short answer is YES! Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. With a widespread problem, we should consider all of our options for prevention.

Like a heart attack or coronary artery disease, heart disease can seemingly present rapidly. One day someone may feel no significant issues, and the next, they are in the hospital undergoing treatment. The reality of most heart diseases is that the cardiac system is undergoing maladaptive changes over many years before symptoms present. Heart and artery pathology can operate in a positive feedback loop. An example of this feedback loop could be increased sedentary behavior, which causes increased blood pressure and cholesterol. This leads to turbulent blood flow in the arteries, which then causes hardening of the arteries, causing higher blood pressure. Then the loop can give feedback into itself. You can see how this feedback loop can cause progressive degradation of the arteries, leading to more mortal conditions such as heart attack or heart failure.

With this long-term view of the cardiovascular system in mind, it is important to check blood pressure and cholesterol levels to monitor your risk and receive pharmaceutical treatment if your doctor recommends it. An additional step that you will want to take if you are 18-65 years old is following the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) guidelines by participating in 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a minimum of 5 days per week.1 Many activities can be classified as moderate-intensity physical activity or exercise. A good guide is that you should be exerting yourself more than your day-to-day activities. However, you should still be able to hold a conversation and speak in complete sentences. Some commonly cited examples of moderate-intensity activity are walking briskly, light bicycling, heavy cleaning, or doubles tennis1.

Often when people hear the ACSM guidelines, it isn’t very encouraging. They feel that the idea of walking briskly for 30 minutes seems impossible. Numerous issues can bring your exercise routine to a standstill or stop it from getting started in the first place. Some of these issues are pain, weakness, poor endurance, and imbalance. If this sounds like you, then physical therapy may be the best next stop on your journey to better health. Physical therapists have extensive training and are healthcare movement experts. By undertaking an evaluation, you can understand impairments that are stopping you from being able to exercise, and you may receive treatment to address those issues.

The Time to Take Care of Your Heart is Now

If you have additional questions about how physical therapy can help, please contact your local Athletico clinic and schedule a free assessment. Free Assessments are available in-clinic and virtually through our Telehealth platform.

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The Athletico blog is an educational resource written by Athletico employees. Athletico bloggers are licensed professionals who abide by the code of ethics outlined by their respective professional associations. The content published in blog posts represents the opinion of the individual author based on their expertise and experience. The content provided in this blog is for informational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied on for making personal health decisions.

1. Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, Franklin BA, Lamonte MJ, Lee IM, Nieman DC, Swain DP; American College of Sports Medicine. American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: guidance for prescribing exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2011 Jul;43(7):1334-59. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb. PMID: 21694556.

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