Friday, October 18, 2013

The BEST..... for your HEART

Exercise Prevents Heart Disease as Effectively as Expensive Medications

October 18, 2013 | 

By Dr. Mercola
Did you know that exercise is one of the safest, most effective ways to prevent and treat chronic diseases such as heart disease?
This common-sense advice was again confirmed in a meta-review conducted by researchers at Harvard University and Stanford University,1 which compared the effectiveness of exercise versus drug interventions on mortality outcomes for four common conditions:
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
After reviewing 305 randomized controlled trials, which included nearly 339,300 people, they found “no statistically detectable differences” between physical activity and medications for prediabetes and heart disease.
Exercise was also found to be more effective than drugs after you’ve had a stroke. The only time drugs beat exercise was for the recovery from heart failure, in which case diuretic medicines produced a better outcome.
The drugs assessed in the studies included:
  • Statins and beta blockers for coronary heart disease
  • Diuretics and beta blockers for heart failure
  • Anticoagulants and antiplatelets for stroke

Exercise Should Be Included as Comparison in Drug Development Studies

The featured review is a potent reminder of the power of simple lifestyle changes, as well as the shortcomings of the drug paradigm. If you’re interested in living a longer, healthier life, nothing will beat proper diet and exercise.
Exercise is in fact so potent, the researchers suggested that drug companies ought to be required to include it for comparison when conducting clinical trials for new drugs! As reported by Bloomberg:2
“The analysis adds to evidence showing the benefit of non-medical approaches to disease through behavior and lifestyle changes.
Given the cost of drug treatment, regulators should consider requiring pharmaceutical companies to include exercise as a comparator in clinical trials of new medicines, according to authors Huseyin Naci of Harvard and John Ioannidis of Stanford.
‘In cases where drug options provide only modest benefit, patients deserve to understand the relative impact that physical activity might have on their condition,’ Naci and Ioannidis said in the published paper. In the meantime, ‘exercise interventions should therefore be considered as a viable alternative to, or, alongside, drug therapy.’”
There are glimmers of hope that change is possible, slow and begrudging as it may be. Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, spent 16 years proving that a vegetarian diet along with exercise and stress management is more effective than conventional care for the treatment of heart disease.
And, as of January 2011, Medicare actually began covering the Ornish Spectrum—Reversing Heart Disease program,3 under the benefit category of “intensive cardiac rehabilitation.”

How Exercise Benefits Your Heart and Health

Heart disease and cancer are two of the top killers of Americans, and exercise can effectively help prevent the onset of both, primarily by normalizing your insulin and leptin levels.
Other beneficial biochemical changes also occur during exercise, including alterations in more than 20 different metabolites. Some of these compounds help you burn calories and fat, while others help stabilize your blood sugar, among other things.
In a nutshell, being a healthy weight and exercising regularly creates a healthy feedback loop that optimizes and helps maintain healthy glucose, insulin and leptin levels through optimization of insulin and leptin receptor sensitivity.
And, as I’ve mentioned before, insulin and leptin resistance—primarily driven by excessive consumption of refined sugars and grains along with lack of exercise—are the underlying factors of nearly all chronic disease that can take years off your life.
Previous research has shown that exercise alone can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by a factor of three.4However, endurance-type exercise, such as marathon running, can actually damage your heart and increase your cardiovascular risk by a factor of seven...
Research5 by Dr. Arthur Siegel, director of Internal Medicine at Harvard's McLean Hospital found that long-distance running leads to high levels of inflammation that can trigger cardiac events. Another 2006 study6 found that non-elite marathon runners experienced decreased right ventricular systolic function, again caused by an increase in inflammation and a decrease in blood flow.......


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