Taking heart medications? Don’t forgo healthy habits

Research we're watching

Published: May, 2020

People may let healthy eating and exercise habits slide after starting prescription heart medications, according to a study in the February 18 Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study involved more than 40,000 Finnish people whose average age was 52. From 2000 to 2013, researchers surveyed them at least twice every four years about their body mass index and their exercise, smoking, and drinking habits. They used pharmacy records to track if the participants began taking blood pressure drugs or statins.

People who started taking those heart-protecting drugs were more likely to gain weight and exercise less than those who didn't take the medications.

Because the study involved mostly white women living in Finland (where a large public health effort to prevent diabetes began during the study period), the findings may not be generalizable to all people. Still, it's a good reminder to be vigilant about healthy habits, especially after starting heart medications.

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