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Yoga May Improve Common Heart Ailment

The University of Kansas Medical Center recently reported that regular yoga classes appeared to decrease occurrences of a common heart condition known as atrial fibrillation in patients, as well as decreasing stress and improving their overall well-being. Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a condition in which the heart's upper chambers quiver chaotically instead of contracting normally. The attacks are painful and often prevent the patients from enjoying regular activities. People with AF are often prescribed drugs such as beta blockers to help control their heart rate and rhythm, but the medicines don't alleviate symptoms for all patients. The American Heart Association estimates that about 2.7 million people in the U.S. have the heart condition. The new study included 49 people who'd had atrial fibrillation for an average of five years. Researchers began by tracking study volunteers' heart symptoms, blood pressure and heart rate, as well as their anxiety, depression and general quality of life. The participants then went to group yoga classes at least twice a week for three months, again reporting on their symptoms and quality of life. All of the patients were on stable medications throughout the study period. The patients reported a 50 percent drop of AF occurrences, which was also confirmed by heart monitors. Anxiety scores declined from an average of 34, on a scale of 20 to 80, to 25 after three months of yoga. Reported depression and general mental health improved as well. The researchers pointed out that the classes may make their arrhythmia "more tolerable" and reduce visits to the emergency room when symptoms flare up. However, the classes were not suggested as an alternative to regular medical care.

Author: ChiroPlanet.com
Source: J Am Coll Cardiol. 2013. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2012.11.060