A survey carried out by scientists from the Faculty of Medicine of the University of São Paulo (USP) in Ribeirão Preto showed that associate aerobic physical exercises with the use of the drug losartan, for high blood pressure, increased heart benefits in men.
Scientists showed that physical activity increased heart rate variability in patients with hypertension taking losartan.
- Medley’s Losartan recalled from the market: know what to do if you take heart medicine
- Losartana: pharmaceutical Sanofi Medley withdraws drug from the market
Heart rate variability describes the oscillations in the intervals between consecutive heartbeats. A high variability means a good adaptability of the body, that is, it is seen in healthy people. A low variability indicates the opposite – and appears in people with hypertension.
“The more variable the system, the more adapted it is to changes. This shows a more effective capacity to adapt”, explained Hugo Celso Dutra de Souza, senior author of the research and professor at the USP School of Medicine in Ribeirão Preto, to g1.
This is important because hypertension is not only related to high blood pressure within the vessels, but to a series of problems in the cardiovascular system – one of them is precisely this heart rate variability.
Losartan is effective in reducing this pressure, but even with its use, frequency variability remains low. In the study, when people who were hypertensive and taking losartan began exercising, the variability increased.
“In addition to further reducing the pressure, the frequency regulation gets better [com o exercício físico] – gets closer to normal. It does not resolve, but removes the comorbidities that may accompany it. Hypertension is a leading cause of heart failure – which is a leading cause of early death.”
The research, published in “Clinical and Experimental Hypertension”, gathered 32 volunteers, all male and aged between 40 and 60 years. Half of them did not have hypertension and were not taking any medication, and the other half were hypertensive and were taking losartan.
Both groups took 45-minute walks three times a week for 16 weeks (about 4 months).
Losartan alone was able to reduce blood pressure – bringing it to normal levels – but without exercise, cardiac autonomic control – among other things, rate variability – remained impaired.
“Heart rate variability is not properly restored with drugs alone. Reducing blood pressure is necessary and essential, but medication alone is not enough. Exercise complements the effect”, reinforced Hugo Celso de Souza to Agência Fapesp.
Scientists are also working on a paper that compares losartan with enalapril maleate to show the differences, the agency said.
“Exercise is important, and it has been seen as a kind of magic pill. However, we need to understand what it actually does in the body so that, who knows, in the future, we may try to pharmacologically simulate its effects”, recalled Souza.
A separate study, with women, is also being done – because ovarian hormones interfere with cardiovascular functioning.
“In rats, we removed the ovaries and automatically increased, in weeks, the amount of fibrosis in the heart. Not only do these ovarian hormones regulate the structure of the heart [como] they also participate in the regulation of hemodynamics as a whole; have a fundamental influence”, explained the researcher to g1.
- Economic crisis leaves women more vulnerable to unemployment, hunger and domestic violence
“This makes sense, because women of reproductive age are ‘protected’ by ovarian hormones – so much so that, before menopause, there are more men with cardiovascular disease than women. After menopause, women [não só] tie as well as outnumber people with heart disease – because of hormones,” he pointed out.