What is heart failure?
The heart is a pump which is responsible for pumping blood around the body. The blood delivers oxygen to the cells around the body to produce energy. When someone has heart failure it means that this pump is not working properly.
Why am I so tired?
Unfortunately heart failure does not just affect your heart. The muscles in your arms and legs will change to have a lot of sprint fibres. This means that you will be able to do something for a short time and then feel very tired. The other thing that makes you feel tired is that the arteries around your body become sluggish and this makes it difficult for you to get going. The reason for this that the arteries are slow to widen so it takes a while for the blood to deliver the oxygen to the muscles that you need to use to perform your activity.
What can I do to feel better?
It is important that you take your medications as instructed by your doctor. Exercise is also a great way to help you feel better. With exercise you can work to improve the length of times that your muscles can work and also reduce the time it takes for those arteries to widen. This means that exercise will improve your energy levels. Start off slowly with 10 minutes and add 5 minutes each week so that after 5 weeks you will have achieved 30 minutes per day. You should always be able to walk and talk at the same time when you are exercising. Adding in some strength training will improve your energy levels further. It is best to do strength training under the supervision of an exercise professional initially.
It will be hard to start exercising but persevere for four weeks and you will start to feel better. Then keep going with it and you will continue to reap the benefits.
At Heart 2 Heart we specialise in caring for people who have heart failure. Karen is currently Therapy Lead on the National Heart Failure Clinical Programme promoting cardiac rehabilitation and multidisciplinary care for those living with heart failure.
Classes for Heart 2 Heart Cardiac Physiotherapy
Mount Merrion Community Centre Monday 2.30pm, 4pm and 5.30pm
UCD Sport 10.30am Tuesdays and 2pm on Thursdays
Killashee Leisure Centre 2pm on Wednesdays
To book click here
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