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Exercise May Reverse The Damage Caused By Heart Failure!

Posted Aug 26 2008 11:26am

Not many people like to exercise. But whether you like it or not, it should be part of your lifestyle if you want to prevent heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, and many other diseases.

Two recent studies, presented on November 7, 2007 at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida, revealed that moderate exercise can help heart failure patients reverse some of the muscular damage (a hallmark of the condition).

According to the researchers of the University of Leipzig in Germany, regular exercise could promote the growth of new cells and blood vessels in muscles that may have become weak and shrunken as a result heart failure, a condition that cause the heart's inability to pump enough blood to the body's organs.

During the 6 months of trial, 50 men with an average age of 56 were divided into two groups: 25 men took part in the exercise experiment while 25 men who were taken as "control group" did no exercise. The group with daily exercise had their level of progenitor cells in the muscle tissue sharply raised but the levels of progenitor cells in the men from the "control group" stayed the same.

Progenitor cells make up a pool of immature cells found in skeletal muscle that can divide into various mature cells as needed for muscle repair. Heart failure patients normally have 50 percent fewer of these cells than healthy people.

The number of progenitor cells became almost normal with the help of exercise. The cells started to divide again and they began to differentiate into myocytes (muscle cells). This is exactly what the heart failure patient’s need - replacement of muscle cells.

The second study in men in their 60s with severe heart failure showed that exercise can also help with the damage to blood vessels that occur in patients with the condition. After 12 weeks of exercise training, the tissue samples and blood tests showed significantly higher levels of immature cells that were morphing into endolethial cells. The density of capillaries or tiny blood vessels also increased 17 percent over the course of the trial.

This shows that whether one has moderate or severe heart failure, exercise therapy will certainly help, and the benefits come from both the regeneration of muscle cells and the formation of blood vessels.

The researchers, however, do not sure whether physical activity can also induce similar changes in the heart muscle.
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