Currently, people who are diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure are typically recommended various drug therapies to control dangerous symptoms and manage risk. However, I have been an advocate of using exercise to prevent and control the progression of chronic diseases for my entire career. Now, research is showing that there indeed is a good reason to continue to insist upon this strategy.
Recent evidence published in the British Medical Journal looked at the relationship between exercise compared to drug therapies and how they relate to the rates of mortality. The researchers included seven exercise and 12 drug meta-analysis studies covering over 305 randomized controlled trials involving over 339, 274 study participants. The researchers made comparisons between exercise and drug interventions based on four mortality outcomes: prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes.
The results of this exhaustive study indicated that there was no statistical difference between the exercise and drug interventions in the prevention of heart disease and pre-diabetes (metabolic syndrome). However, physical activity was found to be more effective than drug interventions in stroke patients. The patients suffering from heart failure were more responsive to drug therapies compared with exercise intervention in this study. However, this is what I would have expected to find in this case.
“Although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions suggests that exercise and many drug interventions are often potentially similar in terms of their mortality benefits in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes,” the study’s authors concluded.
This study is very important because it indicates that exercise utilized as a management tool can be just as effective and in some cases more effective than standard drug therapies at preventing death from serious chronic diseases.
Although this study does give us some very important insight of how exercise can manage an active disease process, it only dealt with prevention relative to diabetes. Of course, this is great news to everyone as they can now feel confident that an appropriate, supervised exercise program can help them live longer and better even if they have been previously diagnosed with heart disease and stroke.
What this study does not indicate but which previous research has already shown is that a regular exercise program can actually prevent or lower the risk of you ever having to experience heart disease, heart failure, diabetes or stroke!
This is the most exciting news regarding the influence of exercise on human health outcomes. It can prevent you from being sick and allow you to live longer and better.
Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Ready, T.,“Exercise May Beat Drugs in Lowering Some Disease Death Rates,”Medscape web site, October 8, 2013.
Naci, H., et al., “Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: meta-epidemiological study,”BMJ2013;347:f5577.