Exercise as good as medicine in treating heart disease - research

Research findings published in the British Medical Journal reveal that exercise is �as good as medicine� in the treatment of heart diseases, and should be built-in when new drugs are being developed and tried. It said although limited in quantity, existing randomised trial evidence on exercise interventions 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 research dubbed: �Comparative effectiveness of exercise and drug interventions on mortality outcomes: metaepidemiological study,� was made available to the Ghana News Agency on Saturday. The objective of the study is to determine the comparative effectiveness of exercise versus drug interventions on mortality outcomes. The study included 16 (four exercise and 12 drug) meta-analyses, incorporating an additional three recent exercise trials, the review collectively included 305 randomised controlled trials with 339,274 participants. �Across all four conditions with evidence on the effectiveness of exercise on mortality outcomes (secondary prevention of coronary heart disease, rehabilitation of stroke, treatment of heart failure, prevention of diabetes), 14 716 participants were randomised to physical activity interventions in 57 trials,� it said. The team of medical researchers from Britain's London School of Economics and Harvard and Stanford universities in the United States observed no statistically detectable differences between exercise and drug interventions in the secondary prevention of coronary heart disease and pre-diabetes. �Physical activity interventions were more effective than drug treatment among patients with stroke. Diuretics were more effective than exercise in heart failure. Inconsistency between direct and indirect comparisons was not significant,� it noted.