Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 301

A Study Shows Even A Modest Physical Activity May Help To Lower The Risk Of Heart Disease In Elderly People


An 18-year long study to find out the extent of cardiovascular health benefits from a regular physical activity on the people shows an inverse association between the risk of cardiovascular diseases and physical activity in elderly (old aged) and middle-aged people.

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A modest physical activity can lower the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular diseases in elderly people.

The researchers have conducted a follow-up study on 24,502 residents in Norfolk, United Kingdom. The participants were enrolled from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC), Norfolk study, which was intended to assess the factors for the development of cardiovascular diseases and cancer. They recruited the participants between 1993 and 1997 from the EPIC study data.

The researchers have collected the blood samples of the participants and conducted a standard physical examination test. They also collected the information on the health, physical activity and lifestyle of the participants with a questionnaire. The researchers have classified the participants into the inactive, moderately inactive, moderately active and active groups.

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The researchers have linked the health number of the participant to the East Norfolk Health Authority (ENCORE) database. The researchers have conducted a follow-up study until March 2015.

The study has found the hospitalization or death due to cardiovascular diseases such as coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, cardiac arrest, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia, peripheral artery disease (PAD), stroke or congenital heart disease. They used the Cox proportional hazards models in the study.

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The following table shows the number of participants in the different age groups and the cardiovascular events in them during an 18-year follow-up study.

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Age group Number of
Number of cardiovascular
Between 39 and 54 years 9,468 874
Between 55 and 64 years
7,567 1,650
Between 65 and 79 years
7,467 2,716

The study shows the number of cardiovascular events is more in elderly participants compared to the middle-aged participants. The study has found a 14 percent lower risk of cardiovascular events in elderly (senior) and the middle-aged people who are moderately inactive compared with those people who were completely inactive.

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The study also shows that physical activity among elderly people (old aged) is better than none in lowering cardiovascular events. The study shows the benefits of heart health even with a modest physical activity.

The authors of the study say the healthy adults should do at least 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise (workout) or 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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They also say that the risk of heart diseases can be lowered with any level of physical activity in elderly people (old aged people). The elderly people (old aged) should be encouraged to perform at least some type of low-intensity exercise such as gardening, housework or walking for the benefits of heart health.

The public health programs are required for elderly people to engage them in some type of physical activity and to prevent a sedentary life among them.

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The first author of the study was Dr. Sangeeta Lachman, a cardiologist, Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The study was published on November 22, 2017, in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. Title of the article was "Impact of physical activity on the risk of cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and older adults: EPIC Norfolk prospective population study."
DOI dx.doi.org/10.1177/2047487317737628

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Published on February 5, 2018


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