DDW 2019—Substantial reductions in mortality when cirrhosis patients exercise


  • Sean Henahan
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • Walking and muscle-strengthening exercises can have a real effect on mortality in patients with chronic liver disease.

Why this matters

  • The rate of liver disease continues to increase, in association with increasing obesity.
  • Mortality rates due to cirrhosis are increasing dramatically, and are expected to triple by the year 2030.
  • This study suggests an approach to lifestyle modification that could help reduce these trends.

Study design

  • 68,449 women from the Nurses’ Health Study (NHS) and 48,748 men from the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (HPFS) reported weekly time spent on resistance exercise, walking, and individual aerobic activities every 2 years from 1986 through 2012.
  • Researchers evaluated the relationships between baseline and cumulative updated physical activity and cirrhosis-related death in these studies.

Key results

  • 269 deaths attributable to cirrhosis (148 women, 121 men) were identified.
  • Physical activity was inversely associated with risk for cirrhosis-related death (P for trend=.004).
  • Equivalent energy expenditures from vigorous aerobic activity and from walking resulted in comparable magnitudes of risk reduction.
  • Further risk reduction was observed with combined walking and muscle-strengthening exercises.

Limitations

  • The researchers suggest a need for additional research into the optimum dose, type, and intensity of physical activity to reduce mortality from chronic liver disease.

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