It’s hard to believe but sometimes it’s easier to sell people on heart surgery than in participating in an exercise program to improve their heart health. Sadly, this can be the case though in some cases.
According to researchers in Germany, some patients who might require angioplasties, a procedure that uses a balloon to widen blood vessels and placement of a stent to keep them open, may be better off exercising their heart.
Rainer Hambrecht, a researcher at Klinikum Links der Weser in Bremen, Germany, is currently conducting a second trial to back up the findings of an earlier one. The first trial compared patients who qualified for angioplasty. The group was divided into two, one group rode bicycles for exercise and the other had angioplasty. Those who were physically active were still problem free after one year, while only 70% of those who had angioplasties remained problem free.
While it may seem simplistic to say that exercise would be better than surgery, it actually makes sense. Exercising does more than work on the one blood vessel that’s blocked; it works on the whole body, from the rest of the blood vessels to breathing to muscle strength. Angioplasty only focuses on the one blood vessel that is causing problems, doing nothing to help what caused the problem to begin with. As well, people who exercise tend to eat more healthy foods than those who don’t, and have generally healthier lifestyles.
Of course, exercise isn’t the quick fix that surgery is, but it is safer for the most part.