Fasting is a buzzword these days because of its potential benefits when it comes not only to weight loss, but also overall health and longevity. Fasting also may be a literal lifesaver for patients who have a heart condition that requires cardiac catheterization – a procedure in which a long, thin tube is threaded from an artery or vein in the groin, neck or arm through blood vessels to the heart.
Catheterization may be done to diagnose a cardiovascular condition, but it also may be done to help treat one, such as in the case of coronary angioplasty or stenting. Regardless, a patient who requires cardiac catheterization generally doesn’t have an altogether healthy heart, which increases the risk of a cardiac event such as a heart attack or stroke.
Enter fasting, which research suggests lowers the risk of heart failure or cardiac-related death in patients who’ve undergone catheterization. Among patients tracked for nearly five years following the procedure, those who fasted on a regular basis were more likely to survive compared to patients who did not fast. Other factors that could have impacted survival rates, such as medications, lifestyle behaviors (including heart healthy vs. risky behaviors) and other health issues were taken into account.