Arterial Disease

Some Topics

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Exercise is Good For You

Exercise is good for you. Exercise has great value in the preventing and control of arterial disease and diabetes.

Coronary artery disease is the leading cause of mortality in the United States. Each year coronary heart disease is newly diagnosed in about 1.5 million individuals at an estimated cost of $47 billion. Based on 1989 coronary heart disease mortality data, the estimated cost of physical inactivity was $5.7 billion. Among other coronary heart disease risk factors, only elevated serum cholesterol greater than 200 ug/dL had a higher estimated cost of $7 billion.

In one study, physical activity was associated with 78 fewer coronary heart disease events and 1,138 quality adjusted life-years pined during a 30-year period. For each quality adjusted life-year gained the direct cost was $1395 for a total of $11,313, which is similar cost savings from other coronary heart disease strategies.

A Canadian program including physical activity classes 2 to 3 times per week, for 30 to 45 minutes per session, resulted in lower per capita medical claims at the intervention site compared to the control site having no promotion of physical activity. For each worker, the intervention program saved $679 in medical claims per year, a return of $6.85 on each dollar invested Other examples of work-site programs have been estimated to cost employers about $100 to $400 per employee, per year.

The estimated rate of return is about $513 per employee per year, including reduced health care cost and reduced loss of productivity. Estimates suggest that in the United States, 20,000 fewer persons would die per year if half of these individuals with no leisure-time physical activity began to participate in moderate activity, including brisk walking at a minimum of 2 to 3 times per week.

Exercise would improve weight control, enhance glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure, improve coronary artery flow and enhance HDL cholesterol levels. Emphasis should be placed on participation of a variety of self-directed, moderate-level physical activities which include gardening, yard work and walking with a goal of at least 30 minutes of activity per day at least 5 days per week.

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