Although diet and lifestyle changes won’t cure your Transthyretin Amyloid Cardiomyopathy (ATTR-CM), they can help you manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of it progressing to advanced congestive heart failure Frederick L. Ruberg, MD, associate chief for academic affairs and director of the advanced cardiac imaging program, section of cardiovascular medicine at Boston Medical Center, tells Everyday Health.
Engaging in regular physical activity is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being, especially for individuals living with ATTR-CM. If you are living with ATTR-CM and participate in regular exercise, you may notice improved cardiovascular function, enhanced circulation, increased endurance, and boosted mood.
While staying active can be beneficial, it may pose challenges due to the unique nature of the condition. However, with proper guidance and a personalized approach, it’s possible to enjoy the benefits of exercise while prioritizing your heart health and safety.
Understanding ATTR-CM and Exercise
According to the Cleveland Clinic, ATTR-CM is “A buildup of faulty proteins called fibrils causes transthyretin amyloidosis (ATTR-CM). These protein deposits stiffen and weaken your heart chambers, leading to cardiomyopathy.”
Given the heart’s pivotal role in circulating blood and oxygen throughout the body, it’s crucial to approach exercise with caution. Overexerting yourself can lead to dangerous consequences.
Types of Exercise
Low-impact exercises are generally well-suited for individuals with ATTR-CM. Here are some exercise options to consider:
- Walking: Walking is a gentle yet effective form of exercise that can be tailored to your fitness level. Gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks based on your doctor’s guidance.
- Swimming: Swimming provides a low-impact cardiovascular workout that is easy on the joints. Water’s buoyancy supports the body, making it a safe option for many individuals with heart conditions.
- Stationary Biking: Using a stationary bike allows you to control the intensity and duration of your workout. It’s a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness without excessive strain on the heart.
- Yoga and Stretching: Yoga and stretching exercises can enhance flexibility, improve posture, and promote relaxation. Choose classes or poses that focus on gentle movements and deep breathing.
As you begin your exercise routine, keep these tips in mind:
When exercising, you should always prioritize your safety. Here are some safety tips for exercising with ATTR-CM:
- Always warm up before exercise and cool down afterward.
- Listen to your body and stop if you experience symptoms like dizziness, shortness of breath, or chest discomfort.
- Stay hydrated and avoid exercising in extreme weather conditions.
- Monitor your heart rate and blood pressure, if advised by your healthcare provider.
- Consider wearing a medical alert bracelet that indicates your condition in case of emergencies.
Start slowly and progress gradually to avoid overexertion. Your healthcare provider or a qualified fitness professional can help you create a customized exercise plan that takes into account your condition and goals.
Adapt and Modify
Your condition may change over time, so it helps to prepare for any adaptations you may need to make to your