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Can my grandmother exercise after recovering from congestive cardiac failure?

Q: What are the precautions and actions one should take after recovering from congestive cardiac failure? My grandmother is 62 years old now. She has been advised to take cardace 5, lasix 40, lanoxin, ecosprin 75 and concor cor. What could be the exercises that she could do every day as she gets tired after walking short distances?

A:At the age of 62, it is not all that easy to adjust to a new lifestyle as per the demands of the disease. I would suggest a controlled exercise program that would benefit her with minimal risk factor. 1. Breathing exercises — She can do controlled breathing (taking a deep inspiration and releasing it slowly) 2. Take half a glass of water. Put a straw in it. Ask her to blow through the straw. You will see bubbles around it. As her breathing capacity increases, you will find more bubbles being formed. 3. She can try some general bed exercises for the upper limbs, lower limbs, abdominal muscles and her back. This will improve her stamina for walking later. 4. Once she has developed a good stamina, she can start walking for 2 minutes followed by rest of 1 minute for 10 minutes. Gradually every week, she can increase the duration of exercise and decrease the duration of rest. 5. By the end of four to five weeks she can walk about 20 minutes. The exercise performed and the number of times the exercise has been performed should be recorded. The exercise tolerance should gradually increase and she should never become breathless after exercise. The respiratory rate does increase but it should become normal 2 minutes after exercise. Precautions — Be alert for symptoms like swelling of feet, shortness of breath, chest pain, palpitations, abdominal bloating. Call your doctor immediately and stop exercising till symptoms are controlled. I hope these guidelines will help you.

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