Physical inactivity and lack of exercise are preventable causes of morbidity and mortality known for a number of diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. By recognizing physical inactivity and lack of exercise as a syndrome or diagnosis, it would be easier to educate the general public and medical community that exercise training is a universally effective treatment, Michael J. Joyner, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, wrote in a perspective published recently in the Journal of Physiology.
In a study, Shigeki Shibata, MD, PhD, of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and colleagues found that 3 months of exercise training can reverse or improve many of the signs and symptoms of postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. However, when exercise is followed by inactivity, patients often experience flu-like symptoms and receive medication when they seek medical advice because physicians are unfamiliar with acute exercise and the adaptations associated with exercise training. With exercise training in a supportive environment, patients experience improvements in symptoms the longer the exercise training goes on.
“The Shibata study offers hope for these patients and shows that carefully monitored and progressive exercise training in a supportive environment is a treatment option that should be tried first,” Joyner concluded. “If deconditioning were a more mainstream medical diagnosis, perhaps the awareness of the average physician treating the average patient would increase and more formal therapeutic rehab programs that include cognitive and behavioral therapy would emerge.”
For more information:
Joyner MJ. Standing up for exercise: should deconditioning be medicalized? J Physiol. 2012;590:3413-3414.
Shibata S, Fu Q, Bivens TB, et al. Short-term exercise training improves the cardiovascular response to exercise in the postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. J. Physiol. 2012;590:3495-3505.
Disclosure: Joyner and Shibata had no relevant financial disclosures.