Problems during exercise for cardiac rehabilitation

In rare cases, a person in cardiac rehab may have problems during exercise.

These problems may include:

  • A drop in blood pressure (hypotension), which may cause lightheadedness.
  • Chest pain (angina). Exercise causes the heart to work harder. As the heart works harder, the heart muscle needs more oxygen. If the narrowed heart vessels cannot provide enough blood (and oxygen) to the heart, chest pain will result.
  • Heart attack (rare). But most studies have shown that people who exercise are less likely to have a heart attack than people who do not exercise.
  • Irregular heartbeats (arrhythmias) or sudden death (rare). Exercise makes the heart muscle work harder, which in turn requires more oxygen. If the narrowed heart blood vessels cannot provide enough blood (with oxygen), the heart may develop irregular heartbeats. In rare cases, these irregular heartbeats cause sudden death.

Last Updated: October 8, 2008

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