Heart patients benefit from Dead Sea trip

The fabled Dead Sea could offer new hope to people with congestive heart failure (CHF) who have had a heart attack. The low-altitude lifestyle offered by the Dead Sea prompted a marked improvement in the physical well-being of a group of patients who recently visited the area.

The Dead Sea is the lowest natural site on the planet. Two Israeli doctors recently took a group of 12 CHF patients and four healthy “controls” to the area, after giving them a series of execise tests in Haifa, which is 130 metres above sea level.

After spending three days at the Dead Sea (402 metres below sea level), the group was given the same tests. The researchers found that the descent of almost three hundred metres had a marked effect on the group’s ability to exercise. The patients said they felt better at the lower altitude, and were capable of walking longer distances on a treadmill. They also had an increase in blood oxygen and a decrease in their resting blood pressure.

Most of us probably won’t be visiting the Dead Sea in the near future, but the story is a reminder to select your vacation spot carefully, especially if you have any related medical problems. As the study showed, ev those without heart disease appeared to benefit from the lower altitude.