Ask the doctor: How do I handle conflicting advice about exercise?

Ask the doctor

How do I handle conflicting advice about exercise?

Published: December, 2007

Q. In 1989, at age 45, I had my aortic valve replaced. Last year, I had an aortic dissection. My surgeon tells me not to do any cardio or resistance exercise and to keep my heart rate down. My cardiologist says I can do light cardio and resistance exercise but to watch my blood pressure. Which one should I believe?

A. Your excellent question gets to the very core of how modern medicine is practiced. The "art of medicine" is gradually being nudged aside for the "evidence of medicine." More and more, doctors try to rely on evidence-based medicine, meaning practices for which there is direct scientific evidence.

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