Cardiovascular issues are among the leading causes of sudden death. The heart is an important organ that needs to function properly in order to maintain a healthy body. Many associate heart problems with older men, but there are also heart diseases that primarily affect a large population of younger people.
What your heart does
Your heart is a muscle that is always being used to circulate the blood throughout your body using blood vessels. Your heart is divided into two separate pumping systems, the right side and the left side. The right side of your heart receives oxygen–poor blood from your veins and pumps it to your lungs, where it picks up oxygen and gets rid of carbon dioxide. This oxygen rich blood is then sent to the left side of your heart where it is pumped out to the rest of your body. These pathways need to remain clear and properly-functioning in order to avoid many vascular diseases.
Why cardiovascular exercise is important
Like all muscles in your body, the heart requires exercise to remain healthy and strong. Just as exercise helps strengthen the other muscles in your body, it also helps your heart to pump better. The healthy heart will be able to pump more blood out with each beat allowing the heart to beat slower which will help to keep your blood pressure under control. The American Heart Association recommends exercising with a heart rate of 50% to 85% of your maximum heart rate, which varies depending on age. Along with a heart-healthy diet, exercise can also maintain a healthy weight, which keeps extra pressure off the heart. Be careful when exercising however, as jumping straight into high impact exercise, or exercising while sick with cold or flu-like symptoms can be detrimental.
How myocarditis affects your heart
Myocarditis causes inflammation of the heart, and this inflammation weakens this valuable muscle, creating an area of scar tissue where the heart was affected by the myocarditis. Scar tissue does not contract like healthy heart tissue, so that area does not work to help the heart to pump. Because exercise forces the heart to pump faster, it can put even more strain on a heart affected with myocarditis. This disease is found in all age groups, but it is particularly higher in otherwise healthy young males. Exercise should be put on hold for at least three to six months after diagnosis. Return to exercise is dependent on your cardiologist’s decision after reevaluation testing is done to evaluate the wellness of your heart at that time.
Myocarditis remains an underdiagnosed disease. Myocarditis Foundation is determined to raise awareness for myocarditis through heart disease research, grants, and public education. Get the latest news and real-life stories by signing up for our newsletter.