Regular exercise is safe for heart failure patients, improves their quality of life and may slightly lower their risk of death or hospitalization, according to a new study. About 5 million people nationwide have heart failure, a potentially life- threatening condition in which the heart has a reduced ability to pump blood through the body. It is the leading cause of hospitalization among Americans age 65 and older, and the numbers are growing. Each year, another 550,000 people are diagnosed for the first time. Heart failure usually develops over several years, most commonly as a result of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure or diabetes. Treatment typically includes lifestyle changes, medicines and regular outpatient follow -up with a health care provider. Some patients also need medical devices to help the heart pump better, or surgeries, such as a coronary artery bypass operation or heart transplant.
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