Why To Exercise Today: Even Just 15 Minutes May Help Your Heart

It’s kind of a tricky health message to calibrate: The guidelines say you really should try to get in at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, or 75 minutes of high-intensity. But even less than that is better than none.

Today we focus on the minimal rather than the optimal. As USA Today reports here:

More research shows that even small amounts of aerobic exercise help lower coronary heart disease risk, according to a review published Monday in Circulation, the journal of the American Heart Association.

The mega-study is part of a growing body of research showing that some physical activity provides health benefits — even when levels fall below the recommended federal guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week…

“The biggest health benefits we saw were for those who went from doing nothing to those doing something small,” says Jacob Sattelmair, author of the new AHA study. “Even a little bit of activity makes a significant difference.”

A little bit means 10 to 15 minutes a day. Sattelmair says the new findings are the first to make quantitative assessments of the amount of physical activity a person needs to reduce risk.

Boston EMS Backs New ‘Hands-Only’ CPR

As expected, the American Heart Association today endorsed the new, “hands-only” form of CPR today (Yes, we predicted this on Friday, right here. And for more detail, see our initial post here.)

Now this just in from Boston EMS:
Boston EMS officials today are gladly supporting new American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines for CPR that prioritize chest compressions for bystanders trying to revive people whose hearts have stopped.

For everyone wondering where to learn the new technique, there’s this on the City of Boston’s Website:
Boston EMS offers numerous CPR Certification program to fit you or your organization’s needs. Call today to learn about one that’s right for you and to schedule a class 617-343-1125.

Having Chest Pain While Black: MGH Finds Triage Bias

Among patients diagnosed as having a probable heart attack, emergency room staffs tend to treat everyone alike. But among patients merely suffering chest pain, those who are African-American or Hispanic are less likely to be classified as emergency cases and to get EKGs and other cardiac testing, according to a national study just released by Massachusetts General Hospital and published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine.

The hospital reports:

Among patients who received an ED diagnosis of probable myocardial infarction (heart attack), there were no significant differences in initial symptoms between racial or ethnic groups…But among all those presenting with chest pain, African American and Hispanic patients were significantly less likely than white patients to be triaged as emergent. In addition, African American and Hispanic patients, as well as those who were uninsured or covered by Medicaid, were less likely to receive such basic cardiac testing procedures as ECG, cardiac monitoring or measurement of cardiac enzymes. Factors such as whether patients arrived by ambulance or the day of the week on which they were seen did not make any difference.

“These differences in ED triage may be important drivers of disparities in testing, procedures and eventual outcomes,” says [lead author Lenny] Lopez. “If you are misclassified at this first step, you’re less likely to get the ECG because your condition is not considered urgent. In the long term, you may have an even more severe heart attack that could have been prevented if intervention had occurred earlier. This is not an area of medicine where there is a lack of clarity about what we are supposed to do, so quality improvement strategies need to focus on 100 percent guideline-driven triage management for every single patient.”