Physical Fitness Cuts Risk of Heart Disease

Alicia Farmer
April 10, 2018

To determine the fitness and activity levels of participants, researchers used data previously collected from 482,702 participants who underwent grip-strength that correlate with overall body strength; answered questions about their levels of physical activity; wore accelerometers on their wrists for seven days; and took stationary-cycling tests. Researchers determined various levels of genetic risk according to measurements based on discoveries from genomewide association studies, the most common study design to discover genetic variation associated with disease.

During the study, they found that exercise, cardiorespiratory fitness, and higher levels of grip strength helps to reduce risks of heart trouble even if you have a genetic predisposition for heart disease.

Simply by recording peoples grips, those with the strongest, were 36 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

Overall, the objective of the study is set to motivate people to exercise and to hopefully reduce the risk of a heart disease.

Philippa Hobson, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: 'Historically, high doses of some chemotherapy drugs used to treat women with breast cancer were associated with increased production of an enzyme that is related to causing heart failure'.

The analysis, which is one of the largest observational studies of its kind, has revealed that higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease.

Study participants were classified into those with intermediate and high genetic risks for cardiac disease.

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Nonetheless, Dr. Ingelsson stressed that the data is robust, and these latest results are worthy of consideration in guidelines.

Breast cancer patients have no greater risk of dying of heart disease following chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

And if you have a parent or sibling who has had a heart attack, especially at a younger age, your genetic risk for having one is clear. Only slightly more than half of adults over 18 get the recommended amount of aerobic exercise each week.

When heart disease runs in the family, a more physical activity may be the best defence, say researchers.

Previous research found associations between exercise and heart health, but Ingelsson said that less was known about the cardiovascular effect of exercise in persons with a family history of heart disease.

Also, they had a 46 per cent lower likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation, which is an irregular and fast heart-rate.

Co-authors were Emmi Tikkanen, Ph.D., of the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine, California and Stefan Gustafsson, Ph.D., of the Department of Molecular Sciences, Molecular Epidemiology and Science for Life Laboratory, Uppsala University, Sweden. His team assessed information from the United Kingdom Biobank - a long-term study that began in 2006 investigating contributions of genetics and environmental exposure.

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