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Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of different conditions that affect the heart and circulatory system. These conditions include heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, strokes, congenital heart disease. Cardiovascular disease has become one of the leading causes of death worldwide. If left untreated, those who show signs of cardiac diseases or have previously suffered from this disease are at a very high risk of developing more serious conditions or ultimately, death. However, by addressing behavioural risk factors such as an unhealthy diet, obesity, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol, many cardiovascular diseases can be prevented or managed.
Physiotherapy can be helpful in the treatment of those with cardiovascular disease. The recommended form of treatment is a supervised exercise programme that is specially created and supervised by a physiotherapist to meet and treat your needs. Due to the nature of cardiac diseases, each patient’s symptoms will be different therefore; it is essential that prior to physiotherapy, a medical assessment be carried out so that an appropriate exercise program will be designed for you.
Aerobic conditioning and strength training are the main interventions in treating symptoms caused by cardiovascular disease. Aerobic conditioning is where the heart and lungs are trained to pump blood more efficiently around the body by allowing more oxygen to be delivered to muscles and organs. Examples of aerobic conditioning include swimming, cycling, walking and rowing. Some chartered physiotherapists may also suggest doing strength-training exercises. Strength training and resistance training may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The important thing to remember with any of these exercises is to follow the programme laid out for you by your chartered physiotherapist to ensure that the intensity is not too much for you and will not worsen any of your symptoms.
Engaging in aerobic and endurance exercise can help prevent, and in some cases, reduce cardiac disease. It can result in increased functional capacity; reductions in symptoms of angina; and improvements in blood cholesterol, weight and hypertension control. Patients have also benefited from improved energy levels and psychological factors such as improved mood levels.
Along with physical therapy, it may be important for patients to receive counselling and advice from a nutritionist in order to educate themselves for leading a healthier lifestyle. Overall, the treatments provided by chartered physiotherapists and other healthcare professionals may help improve and reduce the risk of cardiac diseases drastically.