Yoga, an affordable rehab for heart patients

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JUNE 17, 2019

Suffering a heart attack leaves a patient with high propensity to develop high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and even clot formation.

In the first year of a heart attack, the risk of another attack, and even death, is considerably high.

Even if one escapes a second heart attack, the risk of patients not returning to activity levels prior to the attack, is a given.

To reduce this risk, apart from drugs, the conventional approach includes participation in a cardiac rehabilitation program. While cardiac rehabilitation is common in the west, it is virtually nonexistent in India due to the high costs and intensive human resource and equipment requirements associated with it.

While yoga has proven to deliver everything that cardiac rehabilitation can achieve, at a much lower cost, there has been a lack of scientific evidence proving the same.

As a result, many cardiologists have been worried that it could even harm the patients.

In order to address these issues, a large randomised control study was conducted by researchers from London School of Hygiene and Topical Medicine, Public Health Foundation of India and a few other research institutions on providing structured yoga care to patients.

The result was compared to that of patients who received the usual care. As it turns out, yoga is like a silver bullet for preventing complications in patients who have suffered heart attacks in the past.

The poses of the study had been chosen keeping in mind that the exercise do not increase the pulse rate, blood pressure and stress on hearts of the patients while they were performing them.

The core breathing exercises that the heart patients were made to do were Anulom-Vilom, Bhramari Pranayama, Ujjayi Pranayama and meditation practices including chanting, mindfulness and Shavasana.

Supervised instructions on yoga was provided by a trained yoga instructor over a 13-week period and the patients were asked to practice yoga at home. At the end of 30 months we noted that after the heart attack, patients had a better quality of life and greater return to pre-heart attack levels of activity.

Additionally, it was safe and feasible to practice these postures following a heart attack. Yoga, thus should become an important component of the Ayushman Bharat programme.


Courtesy/Source: Indian Express

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