Heart patients should skip isometric exercises
As a way to prevent heart conditions and keep healthy, Mortazavi recommends aerobic exercise.
“I would suggest activities like walking, bicycling, using an elliptical -- even cross-country skiing,” he said. “Any kind of aerobic exercise will help with heart health. I suggest aerobic exercise, 40 to 45 minutes at least three times per week.”
This recommendation varies slightly for those who experience symptoms during exercise or strenuous activity, or if the individual is 50 or older.
“These individuals should speak with their physician in advance of beginning an exercise plan,” he said. “For those patients who are looking to start a new exercise plan who are typically sedentary, I usually perform an exercise test where they will walk on a treadmill under my supervision. This test will show us how their body responds to aerobic exercise and helps us determine what exercises are safe.”
Although every patient’s health condition is different, Mortazavi has general suggestions for those recovering from heart attacks or strokes.
“My initial recommendation is that if you have had a heart attack, stroke or any cardiac procedure, speak with your physician in advance of beginning an exercise regimen,” he said.
Mortazavi said exercises for stroke victims depend on their level of physical handicap, and, generally speaking, those who have had heart conditions should skip isometric exercises, which include lifting heavy weights and only using small muscle groups.
He has professional tips for those looking to improve their blood pressure, including restricting salt intake, losing weight, a judicious use of alcohol, and, of course, regular exercise. He said females should be aware that oral contraceptives may increase blood pressure.
Mortazavi also warns against over-the-counter products that are touted for health benefits.
“Many of these products have a laundry list of chemicals in them, some of which may contribute to high blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, talk to your doctor about any and all ‘health’ products that you are taking or are planning to use,” he said.
“I have had several young patients who have high blood pressure, these individuals came in, were advised to eliminate these products and their blood pressure went back to a normal range without the need for blood pressure medications.”
NAME: Ali Mortazavi, M.D.
OCCUPATION: Board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Practices at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic, 1200 McKinney Street, Suite 473, Houston
FAST FACT: Mortazavi completed his internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine.
Mark DeHaven is a freelance writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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