Exercise
is Medicine

MAY NEWS LETTER

“Movement is a medicine for creating change in a person's physical, emotional, and mental states.”
Carol Welch

Tuberculosis and Exercise:
TB is caused by bacteria that most often affects the lungs. Although TB is preventable and can be cured, treatment involves numerous antibiotics taken for a prolonged period of time. TB is transmitted through the air, therefore a person can inhale these germs and ultimately become infected.

Some signs and symptoms of TB:
Even if a person may have active TB, the symptoms may be mild for many months. This can lead to a postponement in seeking care and the continued passing on of bacteria to others. Common symptoms associated with TB can include a cough with mucus and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and/ or night sweats.

Persons at higher risk for TB:
TB and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemics are closely related. Antiretroviral therapy is known to help improve mortality rates in those who are infected by both TB and HIV. Furthermore, drug users (especially IV drug abuse), diabetics, persons with kidney disease, silicosis and children or elderly with weakened immune system are at a high risk of developing TB.

The Role of Exercise: Studies have proven that exercise can be effective, even if just used as a coping mechanism in the management of TB. The physiological effects of exercise such as a decrease in ventilation demand as well as a decrease in the level of blood lactic acid, result in an improved aerobic metabolism of the muscles, successively lessening fatigue. Psychologically, exercise can increase motivation, decrease fear of breathing difficulties, as well as decreasing the prevalence of depression.


Asthma and Exercise:
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that is associated with recurrent episodes of wheezing, breathlessness, coughing and tightness of the chest. Three main factors cause the airways to narrow: swelling of the inside lining of the airways, increased mucus production combined with inflammation or tightening of the muscle around the airways. Many factors can contribute to the development of asthma, including allergens, air pollutants and obesity. The severity of attacks ranges from infrequent episodes of breathing discomfort to regular, serious, life-threatening bouts of airway obstruction.
People with asthma can still lead full and active lives by following an appropriate management program developed by a primary health care provider.
How does exercise benefit people with asthma? Research indicates that people with asthma tend to limit exercise and physical activity to avoid triggering respiratory symptoms. However, well-controlled asthma should not limit or restrict any person’s ability to participate in physical activity. Regular exercise improves aerobic fitness, which means at any given level of exercise, the person uses less of the maximum oxygen that can be taken in by the body. This decreased use of oxygen reduces the likelihood of an exercise-induced attack. Exercise, in the long run, can also help control asthma and reduce the amount of medication required.
Important to note, when patients with asthma start an exercise program, ensure adequate guidance for prevention and treatment of exercise-induced asthma. By using pre-exercise medication, most people with asthma can participate in physical activity equally to people without asthma. Exercise should begin at low intensity, gradually increasing as fitness level improves. Sessions will generally be 40 to 60 minutes in duration and should be repeated three to five times per week. People with asthma can participate in all types of exercise and physical activity, as it develops good breathing techniques and lung capacity.

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