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Drugs No Better than Exercise to Save Lives

Researchers reviewed 305 studies involving 339,274 participants and found that exercise is just as effective as drugs in preventing death from heart attacks or diabetes, and is more effective in preventing death from strokes (British Medical Journal, October 2013).

People with heart disease who exercised but did not use drugs had no more risk of dying than the patients taking drugs. People with mild diabetes who did not take drugs but exercised had the same survival rate as those taking drugs. Drugs such as statins, angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors and those to prevent clots, were not shown to be more effective than exercise in preventing second heart attacks.

Exercisers Have Lower Cancer Rates and Better Survival Rates
Many studies show that regular exercisers are less likely to suffer many different types of cancer. A new study following 293,511 men and women for 12 years shows that people who exercised before they were diagnosed with cancer are less likely to die from their cancers than those who did not exercise (International Journal of Cancer, 12/06/2013). Compared to people who rarely exercised, those who exercised for more than seven hours per week had lower death rates from cancers of the colon by 30 percent, of the liver by 29 percent, of the lung by 16 percent, and by 20 percent in cases of non-Hodgkins lymphoma. However, exercisers had an 18 percent higher death rate with cancer of the kidney.

Exercise After Cancer Diagnosis Prolongs Lives
A review of 48 studies covering 40,674 colon/colorectal cancer cases showed reduced recurrence among patients who continued to exercise, and the more a person exercised, the less likely the cancer was to recur (Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2001 Jun;33(6 Suppl):S530-50; discussion S609-10). In the same journal issue, a review of 41 studies covering 108,031 breast cancer cases showed that people who exercised moderately had reduced breast cancer recurrence.

We need more public service advertising to encourage exercise and healthful eating to counteract the heavy advertising from pharmaceutical companies.

December 22nd, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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