Although a healthy diet and exercise is essential for overall heart health in all of us, heart failure patients particularly benefit from these lifestyle choices when it comes to improving heart function.
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) is becoming more and more common and affects those who are overweight or obese. A person’s ability to exercise with HFPEF becomes difficult as it contributes to shortness of breath and fatigue during activity.
For the study 100 older obese women with HFPEF were divided into groups of either only diet, only exercise, diet and exercise and a control group with no treatment.
After 20 weeks all treatment groups saw improvements in their ability to exercise as revealed by their peak exercise oxygen consumption during exercise. Those in the diet and exercise group doubled their improvement of oxygen consumption.
Diet and exercise were also found to reduce the number of fat cells within leg muscles which can also further improve a heart failure patient’s ability to exercise.
The findings were published in Journal of the American Medical Association.