Effect of Exercise on Plasma Cholesterol

Syed Azhar Hassan Shirazi


Background: Coronary artery disease is a major health problem. Hyperlipidemia is one of the major risk factors for it, particularly raised LDL and low HDL cholesterol levels. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of exercise on plasma total and HDL cholesterol in patients with hypercholesterolemia.

Material and Methods: This study was carried out in a private clinic at Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, from 1st August , 2006 to 31st October, 2006. Eligible patients were adult males with hypercholesterolemia i.e. fasting plasma cholesterol > 200 mg/dl. Patients with coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, valvular heart disease, cardiomyopathy, congestive cardiac failure, concurrent treatment with lipid lowering agents, pregnancy, renal failure, type 1 diabetes mellitus, physical disability or chronic major illness were excluded from the study. All the patients were kept on a National Cholesterol Education Program step I diet. All these patients were given daily exercise program of 60 minutes for one month. Plasma total and HDL cholesterol were measured before and after the exercise program.

Results: Ninety one male patients having fasting plasma cholesterol > 200 mg/dl were studied. Mean age of these patients was 39.5 ± 8.5 years. The mean total cholesterol before and after exercise program was 249.3 ± 20 mg/dl and 152.9 ± 11 mg/dl respectively, showing an overall reduction of 40%. The mean HDL cholesterol before and after exercise program was 38.21 ± 9 mg/dl and 50.75 mg/dl respectively, showing an overall increase of 16%.

Conclusion: Regular exercise effectively reduces the plasma total cholesterol and increases HDL cholesterol in patients with hypercholesterolemia.

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