Don’t stop good habits when taking heart drugs

In the journals

Cholesterol-lowering statins and blood pressure drugs can improve heart health, but you still need to follow heart-healthy habits. That's the conclusion of a study published online Feb. 5, 2020, by the Journal of the American Heart Association, which found many people forgo healthy habits after they begin taking these medications.

Researchers in Finland identified 41,225 people who were free of cardiovascular disease. They collected such health data as body mass index, physical activity, alcohol intake, smoking status, and whether the people took statins or blood pressure drugs. Updated information was gathered from surveys every four years over a 14-year period.

The study found that people who began to take either or both types of drugs were 82% more likely to become obese compared with those who did not take any medications. There may be several reasons for the association, but the researchers noted that people in this group also cut back on regular physical activity compared with those who did not take one of these drugs.

The researchers' advice? Even if you take medications to improve your heart health, you still need to focus on positive lifestyle changes like losing weight, eating right, not smoking, curbing alcohol use, and getting enough exercise.

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