Exercise as Beneficial or Better Than Drug Intervention for Common Cardiovascular Ailments

October 10, 2013

RunningNatureA structured exercise program may be as good or better than frequently prescribed drugs for some common cardiovascular ailments, a large meta-analysis has found.

Researchers evaluated 57 randomized trials testing the effect on mortality of exercise and drugs in four prevention regimens: the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation from stroke, treatment of heart failure, and prevention of Type 2 diabetes. The review, published online in BMJ, involved more than 14,000 patients.

The studies used a variety of drugs – for example, statins for the prevention of coronary heart disease, blood thinners for stroke, diuretics for heart failure, and biguanides like Glucophage and Metaglip for impending diabetes.

They found no difference in mortality between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease or Type 2 diabetes.

For stroke prevention, exercise programs were more effective than anticoagulants or antiplatelet medicines.

And for treating heart failure, diuretic drugs were more effective than exercise.

Click here for more.

Given the massive cost burden on our health care system for prescription medications used to treat chronic illnesses, this data will hopefully encourage doctors and patients to turn to exercise when appropriate, as an alternative option to manage heart disease, stroke or Type 2 diabetes.

In health,

Dr. Gina


Vitamin D Deficiency Causes Teen Health Challenges

March 16, 2009

A new study done at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reveals even more data on the association between Vitamin D deficiency and health. In this case, researchers studied approximately 3,600 boys and girls ages 12 to 19 who took part in a government health survey from 2001 to 2004.

The teenage boys and girls with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were twice as likely to develop high blood pressure and high blood sugar.  Even more alarming, the teens with the lowest levels of Vitamin D in their blood were four times as likely to develop metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is characterized by a triad of conditions, namely high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels and high cholesterol, that are associated with diabetes and heart disease.  Metabolic syndrome patients also tend to store fat around their midsection.  This condition is closely related to stress and Sickness Syndrome.   Most of the patients that I treat for Sickness Syndrome Depression and stress-related illness inevitably have low levels of vitamin D in their blood.  This makes sense given that a key source for vitamin D is exposure to the sun, and lack of exposure to the sun will, in many people, lead to depression and inflammation.

In our office, we test the blood for Vitamin D3, which is the active form of the vitamin.  And oftentimes if a patient has inflammation, metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or Sickness Syndrome, then Vitamin D3 testing and treatment becomes part of their path to optimal health.

If this is a topic of interest to you, please read previous posts on vitamin D3.

In health,

Dr. Gina


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