Lifestyle Changes Found to Improve Endothelial Function

Pilot study shows at least one mechanism for benefits to coronary artery disease patients
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Feb. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Lifestyle changes such as a low-fat diet and regular exercise improve endothelial function and inflammatory markers of atherosclerosis in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study published in the Feb. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Harvinder S. Dod, M.D., of West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues conducted a study of 27 participants who had either CAD, risk factors for the disease, or both. They were enrolled in a lifestyle intervention program whereby they were asked to change to a low-fat, plant-based diet and participate in three hours of exercise a week and an hour of stress management a day. Meanwhile, 20 matched controls were assigned to standard care.

Endothelium-dependent brachial artery flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) was performed at baseline in both groups, while the intervention group also had tests for serum markers of inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and angiogenesis. In the intervention group, FMD went from 4.23 mm at baseline to 4.65 mm after 12 weeks, compared to a decrease in the control group from 4.62 mm to 4.48 mm, the researchers found. C-reactive protein and interleukin-6 levels also decreased significantly in the intervention group, the investigators discovered.

"Significant improvement in FMD, C-reactive protein, and interleukin-6 with intensive lifestyle changes in the experimental group suggests at least one potential mechanism underlying the clinical benefits seen in previous trials," the authors write.

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