Diabetes, Heart, and Cardiovascular Diseases News Chronicle.      Article 336

The Cardiovascular Fitness Can Help To Fight The Genetic Risk Of Heart Disease


A large-scale observational study on the fitness and heart diseases at the Stanford University School of Medicine shows a cut in the risk of heart diseases such as heart attack and stroke with a high level of grip strength, total physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness. The study shows even an individual with a high genetic risk for heart disease can get the heart health benefits (of a mixture of genes and environment).

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Cardiovascular fitness can cut the risk of cardiovascular diseases in people with a family history (genetic risk).

A study on the association between fitness and heart diseases was done on 482,702 people, aged between 40 and 69 years with an average age of 57 years. About 54 percent of the participants were women. All of them are without any cardiovascular diseases at the start of the study. The researchers used the UK Biobank database for this purpose. Researchers have done a follow-up study for a median of 6.1 years.

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The researchers have collected the genetic data, fitness and the levels of total physical activity of all the participants. They have collected the following information from the UK Biobank database.

  • The measurement of grip strength with respect to the overall body strength.
  • The total physical activity of the participants.
  • The cardiorespiratory fitness.

The study shows an inverse association between fitness and total physical activity and several cardiovascular diseases such as atrial fibrillation (AF or A-fib), stroke and coronary artery disease.

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Among the participants with a high genetic risk for heart disease, researchers have observed the following in individuals with a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness compared with a low level.

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Heart disease event The risk reduction
Coronary heart disease 49 percent
Atrial fibrillation 60 percent

Among participants with an intermediate genetic risk for cardiovascular diseases, researchers have observed the following among individuals with the strongest grip strength when compared with the weakest grip strength.

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Heart disease event The risk reduction
Coronary heart disease 36 percent
Atrial fibrillation 46 percent

The study results accounted for the risk factors such as age, male or female, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and health factors such as smoking, diabetes, body mass index (BMI), systolic blood pressure and a lipid regulating drug usage.

This study suggests that the factors such as total physical activity, the cardiorespiratory fitness, and the grip strength can keep the heart healthy even for the people with a family history or a genetic risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases.

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The senior author of the study was Erik Ingelsson, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Medicine (Cardiovascular Medicine), Stanford University and the lead author of the study was Emmi Tikkanen, Ph.D., Senior Data Scientist, Nightingale Health Ltd. The study was published April 9, 2018, in the Circulation. Title of the article was "Associations of Fitness, Physical Activity, Strength, and Genetic Risk With Cardiovascular Disease: Longitudinal Analyses in the UK Biobank Study."
DOI: doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.032432

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Published on July 10, 2018


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