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Health Capsules
May 2009
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Exercise Helps After Heart Failure

Regular exercise is safe for some people with chronic heart failure, and it can significantly improve their quality of life, a new study shows.

About 5 million people nationwide have heart failure, in which their hearts have trouble pumping blood throughout their bodies. The condition often improves with healthy lifestyle changes and medicines.

Some small studies have hinted that these patients could also benefit from exercise training.

But many patients and their doctors have worried about the possible risks of exercise.

To investigate, NIH-supported scientists followed more than 2,300 patients with heart failure for up to 4 years. All were medically stable and received standard medical care. About half also received 36 sessions of exercise training (walking or stationary cycling) for up to 35 minutes, 3 times per week. They were then asked to exercise at home 5 times per week for the remainder of the study.

The exercise group scored significantly higher on a quality-of-life questionnaire throughout most of the study. The exercise training also proved to be well tolerated and safe.

The results suggest that regular aerobic exercise is not only safe for heart failure patients, but can also improve their lives in meaningful ways. If you have chronic heart failure, be sure to talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.

Links iconWeb Sites

Heart Failure

Your Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease

Senior Health: Heart Failure

Heart Failure Before Age 50 More Common in Black People

  Catch Oral Cancer Early

Oral cancer can affect the mouth and the back of the throat. Chances of survival drop once the cancer spreads to other parts of the body. That’s why it’s so important to find oral cancer early, when it can be treated more successfully. 

Most cases of oral cancer are linked to cigarette smoking, heavy alcohol use or both. The disease usually occurs after age 40. African-American men are at especially high risk.

On average, about 60% of people with oral cancer survive more than 5 years. But only about 36% of African-American men with the disease survive that long.

An oral cancer exam is painless and takes only a few minutes. Your doctor or dentist will check your face, neck, lips, entire mouth and the back of your throat for signs of cancer.

Ask your doctor about getting an oral cancer exam. It’s quick, it’s painless, and it could save your life.

Wise Choices iconWise Choices

Signs of Oral Cancer

See your doctor or dentist if these changes to your mouth last for more than 2 weeks:

  • A thick patch or sore in your mouth, lip or throat
  • A white or red patch in your mouth
  • Trouble chewing or swallowing
  • A feeling that something is caught in your throat
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Numbness in your mouth or tongue
  • Swelling of the jaw that makes your dentures uncomfortable
  • Pain in one ear without hearing loss

Links iconWeb Sites

What African American Men Need to Know

Oral Cancer: Causes, Symptoms & the Oral Cancer Exam

What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer


Links iconFeatured Web Site

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