The Best Medicine Is (Sometimes) Exericse
It won’t make cancer go away, but when it comes to treating heart disease and diabetes, regular exercise does the job as well as medication. Gretchen Reynolds reports in the New York Times on a recent study of the comparative effectiveness of drugs or exercise in lessening mortality among people who had been diagnosed with one of four diseases: heart disease, chronic heart failure, stroke or diabetes. Reynolds writes that the researchers found 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,” she writes. “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.”” Wait there’s more: “People who once had suffered a stroke had significantly less risk of dying from that condition if they exercised than if they used medications,” and “only in chronic heart failure were drugs noticeably more effective than exercise.” Read more in the New York Times.