Among obese older patients with an increasingly common type of heart failure, calorie restriction and/or exercise training improved their ability to participate in physical activity without experiencing shortness of breath, according to a new study.
Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) is the most rapidly increasing form of heart failure in the United States. Although the heart pumps normally, it does not fill with enough blood because the lower chamber of the heart is too stiff. More than eighty percent of patients with HFPEF are overweight or obese. Despite multiple studies, so far, no currently available medications have improved symptoms in patients with HFPEF.
Researchers from the Wake Forest School of Medicine randomly assigned 100 older obese participants with HFPEF to 20 weeks of diet, exercise, or both. They found that the exercise participants lost three percent of body weight, the diet group lost seven percent and the combined group lost ten percent of body weight. Patients in both the diet and exercise groups showed improvement in their ability to participate in exercise without significant symptoms.