The Heart-Knee Connection

At face value, knee injuries and heart attacks appear to have little if anything in common. However, an increasing body of scientific evidence shows us that there may be a connection after all.
For example, research has shown that former football players who sustained ACL tears are at an increased risk of heart attack and atherosclerosis later in life. For instance, in 2018, a study from Harvard University was conducted on 3,500 former National Football League (NFL) players where they analyzed the long-term health consequences associated with participating in the sport. 
One of the early assessments conducted on the players was to evaluate whether anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears were associated with later life co-morbidities, including cardiovascular effects. In addition to ACL tears leading to a twofold increase in knee joint replacement and arthritis later in life, players with a history of ACL tears had more than a 50% increased risk heart attack of (myocardial infarction).

What WHAT?!
An ACL tear can increase heart attack rates by 50%?
“Our findings underscore the notion that biologic systems are engaged in a complex physiological interplay, and that damage to one organ may set off a cascade of downstream effects on multiple other organs or systems.
Frank Speizer,Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical
It wasn’t until more recently that scientists have begun to uncover the reasons behind the heart-knee connection.  In many former athletes, ACL tears result in:

  • Significant quadriceps muscle atrophy that is resistant to recovery despite extensive rehabilitation
  • Additionally, these injuries accelerate the progression of vascular dysfunction
Healthy Knees, Healthy Life

Uncovering these mechanisms have allowed us to develop new effective treatment strategies that accelerate the healing of injuries and help prevent episodes of ill health in the future.  The Solution: Light therapy (Red and near infrared) has been shown to:

  • Improve vascular health
  • Increase local tissue blood flow
  • Reduce pain and inflammation

One of the ways that light therapy can accomplish this is by increasing blood circulation during and after treatment sessions. By increasing circulation, tissues get more oxygen and nutrients necessary for healing and restoring vascular health.

Additionally, combining light therapy and a properly dosed exercise routine can reverse years of degradation.
That knee that you injured during high school or college sports need not be a pain point any longer! Why Haven’t I Heard Of Light Therapy Already? You may be thinking, “if light therapy is so effective, why haven’t I heard of it already?”  That is a great question! Although  light therapy has been around for decades, the underlying mechanisms for why it works were not well understood until recently. As a result, finding the correct dose, frequency, and combination of light therapies has traditionally been a challenge.

Additionally, therapeutic instruments using red and infrared light have traditionally been cost-prohibitive, with devices ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 per unit. This kept the bar high for using the devices, but didn’t stop Olympians and professional athletes from doing it.  It wasn’t until now that science and technology has advanced enough to make this form of therapy accessible.  At Reviiv light, we are launching a home (or road) use device that implements clinical-grade technology that you can’t find in other commercially available devices.

If you’d like to learn more please take a look at our products here or reach out to our founders [add link].

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