Checking weight on scaleMany of the complications of secondary heart (soleus muscle) insufficiency develop quickly. Weight gain is a much longer term effect. Weight gain results when an individual consumes more calories each day than they metabolize over the course of the day, and the excess calories are stored as fat. The apparently obvious solution to weight gain would seem to be to try and eat less (diet) or increase your metabolic activity level, that is, to be more physical activity (exercise). As those who have tried hard to lose weight well know, these strategies do not usually work well. And, even if you are successful in losing some weight, within a year or so the weight always seems to return. It is as if your body wants to be a particular weight.

The reason it can be so hard to lose weight, and keep this weight off, is that the critical factor in weight management is your resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is the rate at which you are burning calories when you are sedentary. As the typical American adult sleeps for about 8 hours a day, and sits for about 13 hours, or more, a day, most of our daily energy burn occurs at the resting metabolic level. Not surprisingly, exercising, even intensely, for 30-60 minutes a day contributes only a small additional amount (about 5%-10%) to our total daily energy burn. And to make matters worse, exercise, in most people stimulates the appetite, resulting in additional caloric intake.

Similarly, trying to reduce your caloric intake can be an equally frustrating battle. Eating less tends to put our bodies into “starvation mode” so that we become better at extracting calories from this smaller amount of food. In addition, reduced caloric intake results in reduced metabolic activity levels, and so reduced caloric burn. And unfortunately, this can turn into a vicious cycle – reduced metabolic activity causes the body to cool off, and cooler tissue temperatures further reduce metabolic rate.

One answer to this dilemma is to increase your RMR, and the easiest way to increase your RMR is to increase the temperature of the tissues in your body. Given the heavily air conditioned environment most people now live in, many of the tissues in our body are normally well below core body temperature. In fact, the tissue in our hands and feet can be 20oF or more below normal core body temperature. Increasing tissues temperatures even a small amount can result in a large increase in caloric burn as each 1oF increase in temperature raises your RMR by 7%-10%.

One approach for warming up is to warm up our environment, but in many cases, that is not possible. A more effective approach is to warm ourselves through internal processes, that is, increase the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to our tissues. This means increasing cardiac output, and to increase cardiac output requires increasing fluid return to the heart. This is exactly what the HeartPartner does, it activates the soleus muscles in order to pump the fluid which is normally pooled in the lower body back to the heart. This enhanced cardiac return can result in greatly increased cardiac output (25%-40%) resulting in a similar increase in resting metabolic activity levels. This metabolic approach then creates a virtuous cycle – increased metabolic activity leads to increased internal heat generation, which warms the tissues which further increases RMR. The net long term effect is greatly enhance caloric burn, and reduction in body weight without the need to significantly alter your diet, or your activity levels.