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Exercise Effective in Preventing Stroke, Pre-diabetes and Coronary Heart Disease

Update Date: Feb 07, 2014 03:09 PM EST
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According to a new study, doctors should consider writing some of their patients an "exercise prescription." The researchers of this study reported that for some health conditions, such as pre-diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, exercise could be more beneficial than some medications.

For this study, the research team conducted a network meta-analysis of 305 randomized controlled trials. There were a total of 339,274 participants. The researchers were able to compare many different kinds of treatments for the same illness. The researchers concluded that exercise yielded very similar results that certain preventive drug options did for the same health condition. Both options helped to lower people's likelihood of death after suffering from a stroke. They were also effective in preventing diabetes and preventing coronary heart disease from getting worse after it was first detected.

The researchers did find that one particular type of drug was more effective than exercise specifically for heart failure. Patients who took diuretics instead of other medications and exercise had a lower mortality rate.

"I'm not saying that people who are taking drugs for these conditions should stop taking them-that would be a gross misinterpretation of the findings," study co-author, John Ioannidis stated according to Medical Xpress. Ioannidis is an adjunct professor at Tufts School of Medicine and the director of the Stanford Prevention Research Center. "But it seems that exercise is underutilized."

The study, "Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study," were published in the British Medical Journal.

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