Exercise and drugs: Similar benefits in the secondary prevention of heart disease, rehabilitation after stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of diabetes
January 25, 2015
Recent research has provided some evidence from the review of previous studies that exercise is as effective as drugs in preventing illness – from psychiatric disorders to heart disease and prevention of diabetes.
The researchers admitted that existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions is limited in quantity. But what they found when reviewing the evidence, 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 researchers examined the use of drug options for each of the four conditions that had evidence on exercise interventions:
Statins, β blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and antiplatelets for the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.
Anticoagulants and antiplatelets for stroke.
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, diuretics, β blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers for heart failure.
α glucosidase inhibitors, thiazolidinediones, biguanides, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and glinides for prediabetes.
Statins, β blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and antiplatelets in the treatment of heart disease. Anticoagulants and antiplatelets in treatment of stroke.
Diuretics, beta blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitiors and angiotensin receptor antagonists in treatment of heart failure.
They concluded that:
“In secondary analyses comparing exercise with the drug interventions pooled together, there was no definitive difference between drug and exercise interventions in coronary heart disease, heart failure, and prediabetes, but effect sizes had modestly substantial uncertainty for heart failure and prediabetes. Although exercise interventions were more effective than drugs in reducing the odds of mortality among patients with stroke, this finding was associated with large uncertainty in the exact estimate of the treatment effect owing to the small number of events.”
Don’t forget that in very basic terms, any exercise, in fact, any movement that just raises the heart rate and gets your limbs moving, is good for your whole body…
Muscles Lungs Heart Brain Joints and Bones
One of the key health benefits of exercise is that it helps normalise your glucose, insulin, and leptin levels by optimizing insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity. This is perhaps the most important factor for optimizing your overall health and preventing chronic disease, and may explain why exercise is such an effective medicine.
Move more… Recent research even suggests that even if you exercise regularly, prolonged sitting is itself a risk factor for chronic disease and reduced lifespan. So get up and make another cuppa!