Thrice A Week Exercise Cuts Down Heart Attack Risk By 22%

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Men who perform vigorous exercise at least thrice a week were discovered to have a lower risk of suffering from heart attack, as compared to those men who did not make exercise a practice. This was noted by the researchers from the Harvard University School of Public Health. This research was also published in the American College of Sports Medicine. Also, the researchers added that hemoglobin A1C, apolipoprotein B and vitamin D were some important markers in this lowered risk.

Lead author of the study Andrea Chomistek, as well as her team, made use of data gathered from the Health Professional Follow Up Study (HPFS). These data contained information about their activity levels and other biomarkers. Also included in the data were cholesterol levels, insulin sensitivity, as well as other markers of inflammation. Questionnaires were answered by the participants twice a year and in these forms they were able to fill out how long they spent each week in terms of leisure time physical activity.

According to Chomistek, “We studied vigorous exercise because of its stronger association with coronary heart disease. While we discovered that vigorous-intensity exercise decreases a man’s risk of heart attack, we also were able to partially determine why. The benefits of exercise on a man’s levels of HDL-C, or ‘good’ cholesterol, account for approximately 38 percent of that decrease. Other important markers included vitamin D, apolipoprotein B and hemoglobin A1c.”

18,225 men were collected with blood samples and out of these men, 454 have previously suffered from a non-fatal heart attack or had died between 1994 to 2004 due to coronary heart disease. 412 of those with coronary heart disease were compared with 827 other controls in terms of their smoking status, age and date that they donated blood.

Chomistek shared, “As expected, traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors were more common among cases than controls. Men who suffered a nonfatal heart attack or died from coronary heart disease had less ‘good’ cholesterol, more ‘bad’ cholesterol and were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.”

Although they have identified some biomarkers which could explain the connection between physical activity and a lower chance of developing coronary heart disease, the research group pointed out that further studies are needed to measure other mechanisms involving impacts of physical activities against the occurrence of coronary heart disease.

Heart diseases are the most common causes of premature death among males in the US compared to other illnesses or conditions. According to the CDC, about 70 to 80 percent of all cardiac incidents occur in the male gender. Furthermore, they shared that almost half of all men, once they suffered from heart attack by the age 65, do not live for eight years longer.

The authors wrote in the journal this abstract: “Participating in 3 h•wk-1 of vigorous-intensity activity is associated with a 22% lower risk of MI among men. This inverse association can be partially explained by the beneficial effects of physical activity on HDL-C, vitamin D, apolipoprotein B, and hemoglobin A1c. Although the inverse association attributable to these biomarkers is substantial, future research should explore benefits of exercise beyond these biomarkers of risk.”

 

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