Heart Failure Patients: Start Pumping Iron

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

A team of researchers has found one way patients with heart failure can live longer. And when it comes to longevity, there is no news more important.

The latest news comes from the University of Alberta in Canada. A study says that heart failure patients who have more muscle can potentially increase how long they will live. More muscle equals a longer life. Thus, it would seem like a little weight training is in order.

Researchers studied 140 patients with heart failure. Study participants underwent a special scan to measure their muscle mass and body fat. In these patients, they discovered that having more muscle was linked with better nutritional status and a less-severe case of heart failure. On the flip side, higher body fat was linked with increased inflammation and reduced exercise capacity.

This suggests that, in patients with heart failure, having more muscle mass and lower fat may be beneficial. The study appears this month in the “Mayo Clinic Proceedings.”

The study also discovered that testing just the body mass index (BMI) of heart failure patients doesn’t accurately measure their body fat status. This is another hit against a popular method of measuring fat. They found that 41% of people were inaccurately classified by BMI. Many who had a high body weight but not high body fat were mislabeled as obese and others who did not weigh a lot but had a high amount of body fat were mislabeled as normal by BMI.

This is important because there isn’t enough good evidence to help doctors in recommending weight loss to a patient with heart failure.

At the root of this study is the fact that muscle and fat levels in the body play important roles in survival of heart failure patients. There isn’t, as of yet, enough evidence to accurately make recommendations, but it’s clear that a little extra muscle can go a long way toward living longer. To add muscle, speak with your doctor and perhaps consult a physiotherapist to create an exercise program that is safe for your condition.