Study: Exercise, stress management help heart disease patients

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Increasing aerobic activity and reducing stress improve the health of patients with heart disease better than drugs alone, according to a new study.

Researchers at Duke University Medical Center evaluated the mental and physical health of 134 men and women aged 40 to 84 who suffered from one of two forms of heart conditions (stable ischemic heart disease and exercise-induced myocardial ischemia).

Those patients in the groups in which exercise and stress-management supplemented traditional care were found to have lower average depression scores and favorable improvements in certain cardiovascular risk factors, according to the study report.

Researchers conclude that behavioral treatments "provide added benefits" to patients threatened by heart disease patients who are already receiving standard medical care. The study was reported in the April 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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