People suffering from pulmonary hypertension can benefit from low-intensity exercise as it improves heart function and overall quality of life, says a new study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher.
Pulmonary hypertension is a type of high blood pressure that affects the lungs and heart, making it hard to breathe, or making one weary or dizzy.
Examining studies involving more than 400 participants, the researchers found that exercise training can reduce pressure in the arteries and increase exercise tolerance, all without compromising safety.
"It is important for patients with pulmonary hypertension to consult their doctor before starting any exercise regimen," cautioned first study author Ambarish Pandey from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre in the US.
Most of the studies the team examined had supervised exercise training and involved lower levels of exercise intensity than traditionally prescribed for heart failure patients.
"Clinicians have traditionally been skeptical about prescribing exercise for patients with chronic pulmonary hypertension due to concerns that training might put further strain on the heart," senior study author Jarett Berry, associate professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center noted.
"Our analysis found those concerns may be misplaced. More importantly, exercise had a positive effect on several measures of heart function as well as overall quality of life," Berry said.
The prevalence of pulmonary hypertension is estimated to be 10 to 15 cases per million with a mortality rate of 15 percent annually.
The new findings do not mean those with pulmonary hypertension should jump on a bike, start jogging, or launch into some other exercise regimen without first consulting their physician, Berry cautioned.
The findings appeared in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.