How can I increase my heart pumping (ejection fraction)?


Quick Answer

A low ejection fraction can be improved with medications, a low salt diet, fluid management and regular exercise, explains Heart Rhythm Society. A normal ejection fraction is between 55 and 75 percent, and ejection fractions below 50 percent indicate that the heart is pumping below normal.

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Full Answer

A low ejection fraction is an early sign of heart failure and patients often experience fatigue, shortness of breath, feet swelling, a rapid or irregular heart rate, and persistent cough or wheezing, according to Mayo Clinic. Other symptoms include an increase in urination at night, abdominal swelling, sudden weight gain and poor appetite. Medications for heart failure include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin 2 receptor blockers, beta-blockers, diuretics, aldosterone antagonists, inotropes and digoxin.

Patients with a low ejection fraction should consume less than 2,000 milligrams of salt per day because salt can increase water retention and blood pressure, which makes the heart work harder, states Heart Rhythm Society. Fluid management is recommended for patients with a low ejection fraction because when the heart is not able to pump efficiently, excess fluid can back up into the lungs and cause difficulty breathing. Regular exercise of about 30 minutes per day can improve the pumping ability of the heart.

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