The participants were classified as those who started to take these drugs to prevent CVD at any time between the baseline and the next survey, and those who were not on medications during this period. The findings
The scientists found that participants who began to take medications during this period had the following habit changes: An 8% higher chance of becoming less physically active: regular exercise has long been known to markedly lower the risk of CVD. An 82% higher chance of becoming heavier or obese: obesity increases the risk for diabetes, hypertension and CVD, among others. A 26% higher chance of giving up smoking: smoking is the cause of about a quarter of all deaths from CVD, that is, about 200,000 deaths a year. Among non-smokers, 33 000 die each year due to second-hand smoke-related CVD. Reduced alcohol intake: while alcohol raises the blood pressure and body weight, on average, it is also linked to a decreased overall risk for CVD as well as for death from CVD.
Quitting smoking can often be linked to an increase in body weight. On average, people may gain up to 5 kilograms, mostly over the first three months, and the rest over the next 5 years. However, the average weight gain of those participants who stopped smoking was more in those who started taking medications compared to those who didn’t. Limitations and conclusions
The study didn’t include data on what the participants ate, their blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. Moreover, during the study period, extensive public health efforts were on to prevent and manage diabetes mellitus in Finland, where the survey took place. Therefore, some of the changes in the habits of the participants may have been prompted by this initiative.
Most of the participants were female and working in the public sector, and all were white.
These limitations make it more difficult to extrapolate the conclusions to other ethnic and racial groups, countries without good public health programs, and those where diabetes management and prevention is not a priority.
Nonetheless, Korhonen emphasizes, “People starting on medications should be encouraged to continue or start managing their weight, be physically active, manage alcohol consumption and quit smoking.” Source:
Healthy habits still vital after starting blood pressure, cholesterol medications - https://newsroom.heart.org/news/healthy-habits-still-vital-after-starting-blood-pressure-cholesterol-medications?preview=4bee Journal reference:
Lifestyle Changes in Relation to Initiation of Antihypertensive and Lipid‐Lowering Medication: A Cohort Study Maarit J. Korhonen PhD [email protected] , Jaana Pentti BSc , Juha Hartikainen MD, PhD , Jenni Ilomäki PhD , Soko Setoguchi MD, DrPH , Danny Liew PhD , Mika Kivimäki FMed Sci , and Jussi Vahtera MD, Ph, https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/JAHA.119.014168
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