A new study has found that for patients with heart disease, exercise may prevent or improve artery stiffening that is associated with heart failure.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in West Virginia — mostly from heart attacks or heart failure. Heart failure occurs when arteries in the heart become stiff — due to a combination of reduced elasticity and the buildup of harmful chemicals.
But a new study published last month in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that exercise could prevent or improve artery stiffness.
Researchers studied three groups of pigs with heart failure. They were assigned to be sedentary, or put through a continuous cardio routine or interval training. The researchers found that the pigs that were exercised had more elasticity in their arteries than the sedentary pigs. They also had lower rates of the harmful chemicals known to cause artery stiffening.
The researchers say the findings suggest chronic exercise could be a treatment for patients suffering from heart failure.
Appalachia Health News is a project of West Virginia Public Broadcasting, with support from Marshall Health and Charleston Area Medical Center.