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Our Bradenton Physical Therapists can customize a ‘heart-healthy’ treatment plan that’s right for you

February is American Hearth Month, and the goal of the month-long campaign is to spread awareness of the importance of good heart health and the dangers of heart disease.  Through efforts like these, there has been some significant progress in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, and millions of Americans now live healthier and longer lives as a result.  But in spite of the improvements made, there is still much work to be done.

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.  Every year about 715,000 people experience a heart attack, while another 600,000 die from heart disease, which accounts for about one out of every four deaths.  These numbers may seem staggering, but they reflect just how big of a danger heart disease is.

There are many ways to improve your heart health and reduce your chances for any heart complications, but at the absolute top of that list is exercise and physical activity.  Exercise helps the heart become more efficient and better able to pump blood throughout the entire body, and doing it regularly is essential to maintaining a healthy heart.

Regardless of whether or not someone is at risk for heart disease, exercise is a central component of every physical therapy program we prescribe.  In addition to the treatments we provide within our clinic, we also recommend that each of our patients engage in some form of physical activity to improve their overall health on their own.  This is fundamental to physical therapy, and we always work with patients to determine the best possible exercises for them based on their health and abilities.

At the same time, we understand that patients with bad cardiovascular health and those with a history of heart disease may be nervous to engage in any physical activity.  People with heart disease often have limitations like physical weakness, balance problems and struggle with some basic physical tasks like walking up stairs.  Others have difficulty performing the exercises that may be prescribed to them, or simply don’t understand what they should and should not be doing.

With this in mind, we can create “heart-healthy” exercise programs that are designed specifically for patients with heart issues.  Regardless of your concerns, we will work with you individually every step of the way to ensure that the exercises you’re completing are safe and best for you.  We will also monitor your vital signs and look for any abnormal cardiovascular symptoms as we figure out what exercises you’re capable of and enjoy doing the most.  The goal of physical therapy here is to help build back your endurance, which will help you function more independently and perform daily activities more easily.

Other lifestyle changes that we recommend to improve heart health include maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains, monitoring your blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides regularly, and quitting smoking if you’re a smoker.  If you experience stress on a regular basis, it’s also important to find ways to reduce your stress levels.  There are many ways to alleviate stress and not all practices work on everyone, but meditation, yoga and getting regular physical activity are all considered effective.

If you’re not aware of your heart health and on top of making changes if needed, now is the time.  Our Bradenton Physical Therapists are here to help by customizing a “heart-healthy” treatment plan.  Contact Physical Therapy Doctors of Florida at 941-264-1414 for more information or to schedule an appointment.