Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exercise as Potent Medicine

Exercise, exercise, exercise…

Exercise can be as effective as many frequently prescribed drugs in treating some of the leading causes of death, according to a new report. The study raises important questions about whether our health care system focuses too much on medications and too little on activity to combat physical ailments.
For the study, which was published in October in BMJ, the researchers,  Huseyin Naci, a graduate student at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and Dr. John Ioannidis, the director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine, compared how well various drugs and exercise succeed in reducing deaths among people who have been diagnosed with several common and serious conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.  Results consistently showed that drugs and exercise produced almost exactly the same results. People with heart disease, for instance, who exercised but did not use commonly prescribed medications, including statins, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors or antiplatelet drugs, had the same risk of dying from — or surviving — heart disease as patients taking those drugs. Similarly, people with diabetes who exercised had the same relative risk of dying from the condition as those taking the most commonly prescribed drugs. Or as the researchers wrote in statistics-speak, “When compared head to head in network meta-analyses, all interventions were not different beyond chance.”
 “We are not suggesting that anyone stop taking their medications,” Mr. Naci said. “But maybe people could think long and hard about their lifestyles and talk to their doctors” about whether exercise could and should be incorporated into their care.”  For the complete article, go to  Exercise as Potent Medicine  .

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