Left ventricular hypertrophy is a disease that consists of the thickening of the left heart ventricles, usually a consequence of high blood pressure. The heart of the hypertensive patient has to “pump” the blood with greater effort, since it circulates at a higher pressure. If this is maintained over time (usually years), the heart muscle has to change in order to have more pumping strength in each beat.
Left ventricular hypertrophy, if severe, can eventually impair the function of the heart due to difficulty in filling and may decrease the force of contraction of the heart. The best measure to prevent left ventricular hypertrophy is to prevent and adequately control high blood pressure with a low sodium-diet, exercise and taking the appropriate antihypertensive medication.
Leading an active lifestyle, with a moderately high level of aerobic exercise can reduce your chances of getting left ventricular hypertrophy or dying from it.
Exercises for Left Ventricular Hypertrophy
The benefits that exercise brings to health can be noticed if moderate physical activities are performed, and are more evident in sedentary people who change their habits and become more active. Activities, such as walking, cycling regularly or doing four hours a week of physical exercise, reduce the risk of left ventricular hypertrophy. It has also been proven that physical activity helps recover from left ventricular hypertrophy, through rehabilitation programs that are based on exercise, and are effective in reducing the risk of death.
The exercise program is based on the program directed towards healthy people, modifying as indicated by the patient’s medical and cardiovascular condition.
-Modality: The continuous exercises for patients of left ventricular hypertrophy that involve the set of large muscles, such as swimming, riding a bicycle, walking, etc. are suitable for the conditioning of cardiovascular resistance.
-Frequency: The minimum frequency is three non-consecutive days per week.
-Duration: There must be periods of warm-up and cooling, stretching and flexibility exercises, as well as cardiovascular exercises of 20 to 40 minutes continuously or at intervals.
-Intensity: Must be moderate and comfortable, generally with 40 to 85% of maximum functional capacity.
-Progression: Every program should be developed by a slow and gradual process in the duration and intensity of the exercise for patients of left ventricular hypertrophy. Besides starting a physical exercise program for patients of left ventricular hypertrophy, some additional measures must be practiced, such as restricting your salt intake or taking medication.
Taking into account that during the exercise can raise blood pressure, the specialist may decide to lower your stress values first before starting a sporting activity.
If you lift weights, do not do purely isometric exercises, such as pushing against a fixed object, because they can raise your tension to dangerous levels.
Physical Inactivity as a Modifiable Cardiovascular Risk Factor
Physical inactivity is considered the greatest risk factor by the American Heart Association. Sedentary people have a higher incidence of left ventricular hypertrophy compared to those who do moderate regular physical exercise.
Difference Between Physiological and Pathological Ventricular Hypertrophy
Myocardial hypertrophy can be defined as an adaptive process of the heart in which one or both ventricles increase muscle mass in response to an increased load. If the proportionality between myocytes is maintained, the interstitium and the vascularization with respect to the increase of the muscular mass in the ventricles, it is considered a physiological hypertrophy, capable of performing a complete regression when the stimulus ceases (the physical exercise in this case). When this relationship between the different components of the myocardial mass is lost, it is considered that the hypertrophy is pathological, being caused by abnormal stimuli such as arterial hypertension.
The right ventricle adapts to left ventricular hypertrophy caused by physical training in a beneficial way and without altering the functional properties of the myocardium. In contrast, subjects with left ventricular hypertrophy due to arterial hypertension show deterioration in diastolic function.
Even if the reduction in blood pressure values seems small, it may be enough to translate into a significant benefit for your left ventricular hypertrophy. It helps the heart work better: it reduces the number of beats per minute, improves its contraction and develops new arteries. Exercise also controls blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels.
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