Pills preferable to exercise for high blood pressure patients

Thursday 12th April 2018
Taking a daily pill would be preferable to having to exercise regularly for many patients, according to a new survey. Image: Sasha_Suzi via iStock
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Most patients with high blood pressure would rather have to take a pill every day for the rest of their lives than do exercise, recent research has found.

According to a study carried out at the Center for Outcomes, Research and Evaluation at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, fewer than two-thirds (63 per cent) of people would be willing to take up exercise in order to extend their lives by an extra month.

Although 93 per cent of survey respondents said they would exercise if it meant living for five more years, just 84 per cent admitted that they'd increase their physical activity levels in order to live for an extra year.

These findings therefore suggest something of a blase attitude towards exercise and physiotherapy among the general public, as people were found to be much more likely to be willing to take medication to extend their lives, despite potential side effects.

Overall, more than three-quarters (79 per cent) of those questioned said they'd be happy to take a daily pill for an extra month of life, 90 per cent would do so to live for an additional 12 months and 96 per cent would to prolong their life by five more years.

High blood pressure patients were also found to be more willing to drink a cup of tea each day to extend their lives for an extra month (78 per cent) than they were to take up exercise.

Even injections were a more popular option than exercise, with 68 per cent of people with high blood pressure saying they'd rather have a shot every six months if it would add an extra month on to their lives.

Erica Spatz, lead author of the study, commented: "Our findings demonstrate that people naturally assign different weights to the pluses and minuses of interventions to improve cardiovascular health.

"We are good about discussing side effects, but rarely do we find out if other inconveniences or burdens may be impacting a person's willingness to take a lifelong medication or to exercise regularly."

With this in mind, physiotherapists could help patients with high blood pressure who are unsure of the benefits of exercise or their own ability to improve their illness to increase their confidence and show them activities they can try in order to improve their health and subsequently prolong their life.

Written by Mathew Horton

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