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Even a small improvement in fitness has a major impact on the risk of heart attack

Even a small improvement in fitness has a major impact on the risk of heart attack


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How can we protect ourselves from a heart attack in a simple way?

In today's world, stress and insufficient exercise lead to more and more people becoming dangerous cardiovascular diseases, such as a heart attack or angina pectoris. Physicians have now found that a slightly improved cardiorespiratory fitness is sufficient to protect against such diseases.

In their current investigation, scientists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology found that our cardiorespiratory fitness has a significant impact on the risk of heart attacks and angina pectoris. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "European Heart Journal".

Study with more than 4,500 subjects

For their study, the experts examined the cardiorespiratory (heart / lung) fitness of just over 4,500 men and women in Norway. None of the subjects suffered from heart disease, high blood pressure or cancer. The health risk for the participants over the next ten years was rated as low.

Improved cardiorespiratory fitness reduced risk

By 2017, however, 147 of the participants had suffered a heart attack or angina pectoris, which was caused by narrowing or blockage of the arteries in the heart. Finally, further examinations showed that the risk of heart attack and angina pectoris steadily decreased with increasing cardiorespiratory fitness, the scientists explain. In the years after the measurements, a strong correlation between a higher fitness level and a lower risk of heart attacks and angina pectoris was found, the authors of the study explain.

How did improved fitness affect you?

Even among people who seemed healthy, the top 25 percent of fittest participants were half the risk than the least fit 25 percent, says study author Bjarne Nes of the Cardiac Exercise Research Group (CERG) at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. The study used a fitness calculator that measures the body's capacity to transport and use oxygen during exercise. It turned out that with every 3.5 point increase in fitness, the risk of heart attacks and angina decreased by 15 percent.

Use training as a kind of preventive medicine

The study suggests that even a slight improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness can improve heart health. The results should encourage people to use preventive medicine training. Regular exercise that can cause you to get out of breath could be an effective strategy for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, says study author Jon Magne Letnes of the University of Science and Technology. (as)

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