ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Asthmatics Who Quit Smoking May Reverse Lung Damage
Know Your Asthma Triggers
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Cuts Dry Mouth in Cancer Patients
Wristbands May Lessen Nausea After Radiation
Maggots as Good as Gel in Leg Ulcer Treatments
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Improved Hip Implants Can Last 20 Years
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Chronic Low Back Pain Is on the Rise
CANCER
Higher Vitamin D Intake Could Cut Cancer Risk
More Americans Urged to Get Cancer Screenings
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
CAREGIVING
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
Medication Errors Could Be Cut: Experts
Early Exercise Boosts Outcomes for ICU Patients
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Mom's Vitamin D Levels Affect Baby's Dental Health
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
Gum Disease Treatment Doesn't Cut Preterm Birth Risk
DIABETES
Americans Consuming More Sugary Beverages
Laughter May Lower Heart Attack Risk in Diabetics
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
DIET, NUTRITION
Vitamin D Vital for the Heart
Mediterranean Diet Helps Protect Aging Brain
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Agent Orange Exposure Tied to Prostate Cancer Return
Clear Skies Have Become Less So Over Time, Data Show
Restaurant Sushi May Have More Mercury Than Store-Bought Fare
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
FDA Goes After Unapproved Eye Washes, Skin Ointments
Eye Test Could Spot Diabetes Vision Trouble Early
FITNESS
Fliers Can Keep Blood Clots at Bay
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Olive Oil May Protect Against Bowel Disease
GENERAL HEALTH
Even Young Kids Can Learn CPR
Should the FDA Regulate Tobacco?
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Fructose Boosts Blood Pressure, Studies Find
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Viral Infection Might Trigger High Blood Pressure
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
Grapefruit Compound Inhibits Hepatitis C Virus
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Heart Defects in Newborns Linked to Antidepressants
Treat Kids to a Safe Halloween
Working Intensely Early on May Help Autistic Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
Soy Linked to Low Sperm Count
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
A Simple 'Thank You' Brings Rewards to All
Love Hormone May Ease Discussion of Painful Topics
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Mom's Extra Pregnancy Pounds May Raise Child's Heart Risks
SENIORS
Healthy Diet Could Cut Alzheimer's Disease Risk
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Simple Carbs Pose Heart Risk for Women
Bitter Melon Extract May Slow, Stop Breast Cancer
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Any Exercise Good After a Heart Attack

By Ed Edelson
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, March 16 (HealthDay News) -- Any exercise program can improve blood flow after a heart attack, but the benefit vanishes just four weeks after exercise is stopped, a new Swiss study finds.

"The main goal of our study was to determine the impact of different types of exercise on vascular [blood vessel] function," said Dr. Margherita Vona, director of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at the Clinique Valmont-Genolier in Glion sur Montreux. "The conclusion was that in our patients, after a heart attack, all types of exercise were useful for correcting vascular dysfunction, without any difference among aerobic, resistance or combined training."

But the improvement in blood flow seen in the 209 heart attack survivors enrolled in the program was lost four weeks after they stopped exercising, according to the report in the March 31 issue of Circulation.

"These data imply that good, long-term adherence to training programs is necessary to maintain vascular benefits on endothelial dysfunction," Vona said.

The endothelium is the inner lining of blood vessels. Its failure to perform efficiently increases the risk of a blood clot that can block an artery, causing a heart attack.

Participants in the trial were randomly assigned to aerobic training, resistance training, a combination of aerobic and resistance training, or no training at all.

Those who did aerobic training had four weekly sessions, including a 10-minute warm-up, 40 minutes of cycling that increased the heart rate to 75 percent of maximum and a 10-minute cool-down. Resistance training had four weekly sessions of 10 exercises with weights and rubber bands, lasting 45 seconds to one minute, with recovery intervals of 15 to 30 seconds.

Endothelial function was measured by flow-mediated dilation (FMD), the amount that blood vessels widen to increase blood flow. FMD more than doubled, from 4 percent to 10 percent, in both exercise groups. There was no significant change in FMD in the non-exercising participants.

However, the increase in FMD was lost a month after the regular exercise program ended.

"This aspect is particularly important in patients with coronary artery disease, in whom correction of endothelial dysfunction could help to slow the progression of atherosclerosis and probably avoid new cardiovascular events," Vona said.

None of the exercises caused problems for the participants, she added.

The resistance training program followed American Heart Association guidelines, Vona said. "Following the guidelines of the American Heart Association, all people can do resistance training," she said. "Many papers show beneficial effects of resistance training on cardiac and muscle function, in normal people and also, for example, in diabetic subjects."

The study does add some insight to the well-worn subject of exercise and the heart, said Dr. Johnny Lee, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

One is about the type of exercise that should be done, Lee said. "Most of the time, we tell patients about aerobic exercises -- running, jogging and swimming," he said. "We haven't thought that resistance exercise, lifting weights and the like, can have an equal benefit. This shows that it does. That there was benefit from aerobic exercise was no surprise. What was a surprise was that resistance exercise gave equal benefit."

Second, the loss of benefit after exercising stopped that was seen in the study participants, who by definition are in the highest cardiac risk group because they have had heart attacks, carries a message for lower-risk people, Lee said.

"If this applies to the sickest patients, that if you stop you are going to lose the benefit, it shows that continuing to exercise can only have a positive effect if you are a normal subject with no heart disease," Lee said.

More information

A guide to exercise after a heart attack is offered by the American Heart Association.



SOURCES: Margherita Vona, M.D., director, Cardiac Rehabilitation Center, Clinique Valmont-Genolier, Glion sur Montreux, Switzerland; Johnny Lee, M.D., assistant clinical professor, medicine, Mount Sinai Medical Center, New York City; March 31, 2009, Circulation

Last Updated: March 16, 2009

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