L’heart failure affects more than 1.5 million people in France, particularly over the age of 60. This disease is characterized by “the inability of the heart muscle to normally propel blood through the body”, as highlighted by Health Insurance. To improve your heart health, a study published in the Journals of the American College of Cardiology last July showed the importance of walking and specified the number of steps to take daily. New research has identified an activity that would be ideal for improving the quality of life and cardiovascular function of patients with heart failure.
Indeed, researchers at the Academy of Cardiac Education in Manipal, India, estimate that yoga may improve systolic blood pressure and heart rate if used alongside heart medication. Their results, not yet published in a scientific journal, are presented at the 2023 American College of Cardiology Asia conference, held in Manila, Philippines.
Heart failure: yoga improves heart rate and quality of life
To carry out their research, the specialists based themselves on a panel of 75 patients suffering from heart failure. The latter were registered in a care center in India and had undergone either a coronary intervention, revascularization or device treatment in the six months to a year preceding the research work. All had been receiving medical treatment for at least six months.
The severity of the disease in patients was measured using a tool called the New York Heart Association (NYHA), which is measured from one to four. The highest number being the most serious condition. The patients were all at level three of this scale. Patients also had left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), a marker of heart health, below 45%. For a healthy person, it should be at least 50%. In this panel, 35 followed 60 minutes of yoga, five days a week for a year, in addition to their treatment. The last 40 only followed their treatment. The researchers analyzed quality of life using a questionnaire completed at the start of the study, after 24 weeks and 48 weeks of follow-up.
Yoga physical and breathing exercises would be effective for the well-being of patients
“Our patients saw an improvement in systolic blood pressure and heart rate compared to patients who took medication without doing yoga”, notes Ajit Singh, lead author of the study and research scientist at the Indian Council for Medical Research at Kasturba Medical College, in a press release. Similarly, researchers found that patients doing yoga improved their quality of life, endurance, strength, balance, and that the practice helped stabilize their symptoms.
But how can we explain these benefits? According to specialists, “yoga is a combination of mind-body techniques, which are a set of physical exercises (asanas) with breathing (pranayama), relaxation and meditation techniques that can be used effectively to stimulate physical well-being and mental”.
The researchers therefore estimate that “yoga therapy may improve physical well-being and left ventricular function in patients with heart failure following optimal guideline-directed medical treatment”.
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