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Pop A Pill- The Lazy Manís Daily Dose of Exercise

by Medindia Content Team on July 28, 2007 at 4:14 PM
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Pop A Pill- The Lazy Manís Daily Dose of Exercise

Today, why bother to exercise and watch your diet-while transporting a pill to your mouth is all the hard work you have to do?

This attitude is creeping up on all of us and scarily enough, is becoming quite acceptable.

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One in five adults in England admit that they only walk for 20 minutes or more, once a year or less.

It is clear a "couch potato" lifestyle increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke, among other deadly diseases. Yet, the "exercise for 30 minutes a day at least five days a week" message does not seem to be having an impact. Instead prescriptions for medications, which offset the ill effects of an unhealthy lifestyle, are increasing.
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Latest figures for "cholesterol busting" pills statins give annual prescriptions as 40 million.

Meanwhile, although worries over side effects, such as an increased risk of cancer, are widely reported in the press, figures show their use has helped to decrease rates of heart disease in England in recent years.

The National Institute of Clinical and Health Excellence (NICE) recommend all adults with a 20 percent risk of developing cardiovascular disease in the next 10 years be offered a statin. A recommendation, which makes six million people eligible for the drugs on the NHS.

GPs are now beginning to scroll through their patient data to find people who might benefit from statins based on their age, smoking history, blood pressure and cholesterol.

10,000 lives each year," says Professor Boyle, who himself takes a statin.

"We have seen very gratifying reductions in people admitted to hospital with a heart attack and the ones that have been admitted have not been severe.

"There is a debate about medicalising a large proportion of the population.

"But we need to work harder to explain to people what the benefits are - that they will lead longer, healthier lives", he adds.

Professor Peter Weissberg, medical director of the British Heart Foundation says : "We wouldn't have to consider this if we had a population who didn't smoke, who exercised regularly, who really took care of their cardiovascular health.

"But the fact of the matter is, we choose to live differently and we can offset the risk by being on a statin."

Weissberg says the rare serious adverse effects of statins needed to be put in context and other medications, which people were happy to take regularly, such as the pill and Viagra were associated with more problems.

"We have to inform people about the difference between side-effects and risk.

"Statins have been around for 20 years, they are effective and they are very safe."

He added there were still debates to be had such as working out more about that benefited the most from the drugs and how far cholesterol should be lowered.

Still, Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of Weight Concern and a GP in Nottingham opines that doctors have forgotten how great an influence lifestyle choices have on health and are becoming more and more drug oriented.

"The reality is so much of the chronic disease we are having to deal with is caused by a less than healthy lifestyle.

"There's no doubt if people did take more exercise their risk of disease would go down and their need for medicine would go down." He added that drugs such as statins have a significant effect above that which can be achieved with lifestyle changes and were vital for people with a high risk.

"The concerns I have is there are grades of risk - we have now got people able to buy statins over the counter for a relatively small risk which could be negated for lifestyle changes.

"It's for people at the other end of the spectrum that you need both drugs and lifestyle changes", he sums up.

Source: Medindia
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