Cardio Recommendations for Patients with High IMT Values
When CIMT test results show that a patient has thick arteries–measured by a high IMT value– then it’s important to get the patient on a healthy lifestyle plan. Common recommendations include eating a nutritious diet, reducing stress, and exercising regularly.
But these recommendations don’t often land when mentioned briefly at the end of an appointment. Most people know that they should exercise more, but the thought can be overwhelming–or simply low on their daily to-do list.
Therefore, in order to encourage more people to take heart health seriously, we’ve come up with a list of cardio recommendations for patients with high IMT values. Some are traditional exercises while others are a bit more fun and unique. Ask your patients what kind of activities they enjoy and maybe recommend some new ones.
Head to this page to learn more about Vasolabs’ CIMT tests.
A Summary of IMT
IMT stands for Intima-Media Thickness, which is a measure of the thickness of the innermost two layers of the wall of the carotid artery (the intima and media layers) in the neck. It is a non-invasive measure of the presence and severity of atherosclerosis (narrowing and hardening of the arteries) in the carotid artery, which supplies blood to the brain.
An increased IMT is considered an early marker of atherosclerosis and is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke. Therefore, measuring IMT can help identify individuals at high risk for cardiovascular disease, and it can also be used to monitor the effectiveness of treatment for atherosclerosis.
IMT Cardio Recommendations to Improve Patient Outcomes
It’s common knowledge that cardio for IMT can help improve cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of developing or progressing atherosclerosis. Some cardio exercises that you can recommend to IMT patients include:
- Walking: Walking is a low-impact exercise that can be done by most people, regardless of their fitness level. It is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and increase physical activity.
- Cycling: Cycling can help improve cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. It can be done indoors on a stationary bike or outdoors on a road bike.
- Running: Running can help improve cardiovascular fitness, and it can be a great way to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Swimming: Swimming is a low-impact exercise that can help improve cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. It can also be a great way to cool off and relax.
- Dancing: Dancing can be a fun way to improve cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of atherosclerosis.
- Elliptical machine: Elliptical machines can be an effective way to improve cardiovascular fitness and lower the risk of atherosclerosis. They tend to be easier on the knees than running on a treadmill or outdoors.
- Hiking: Hiking is a great way to get outdoors and enjoy nature while getting some cardio exercise. Whether you’re hiking on a nature trail or hitting the mountains, it’s a fun way to get your heart rate up.
- Roller skating or rollerblading: Roller skating or rollerblading is a fun way to get your heart rate up while enjoying the outdoors. You can roller skate or blade at a local park or rink, or even on the street.
- Jump rope: Jump rope is a fun, simple, and inexpensive way to get your heart rate up. It can be done anywhere and is a great way to burn calories and improve cardiovascular fitness.
- Rock climbing: Rock climbing is a challenging and fun way to get your heart rate up. Whether you’re climbing at an indoor gym or outdoors, it’s a great way to improve cardiovascular fitness and overall strength.
- Yoga: Yoga can be a fun and relaxing way to get your heart rate up, especially if you enjoy the practice. Some forms of yoga, such as Vinyasa or Ashtanga, can provide a cardio workout.
Warnings Regarding Cardio and IMT
For people with cardiovascular disease, exercise can be beneficial, but all recommendations should be given in light of the specific patient’s condition. If the arteries are damaged or severely compromised, IMT cardio exercises may lead to health hazards.
Some warnings for people exercising when they have IMT cardiovascular disease include:
- Start slowly: People with cardiovascular disease should start with a low-intensity exercise program and gradually increase the intensity over time.
- Listen to your body: People with cardiovascular disease should be aware of how their body feels during exercise, and stop if they experience any chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms.
- Monitor heart rate: People with cardiovascular disease should monitor their heart rate during exercise, and avoid exercises that cause their heart rate to increase too rapidly.
- Avoid extreme temperatures: People with cardiovascular disease should avoid exercising in extreme temperatures, such as hot or cold weather, as it can put extra stress on the heart.
- Be aware of medications: People with cardiovascular disease should be aware of how their medications may affect their exercise routine and consult with their healthcare professional for recommendations.
- Wear appropriate gear: People with cardiovascular disease should wear appropriate gear, such as comfortable shoes and loose-fitting clothes, during exercise to avoid injury.
We’re Here to Equip Health Practitioners with Heart Disease Resources
The next time you need to offer heart disease testing at your practice, think of Vasolabs. We know that not every clinic or practice has the equipment to conduct in-office heart tests. That’s why our mobile testing team comes to you for scheduled testing days. Invite your patients and make it a community event.
Vasolabs makes cardiovascular testing easy and convenient. Contact our team to learn more.