Physical activity may ward off heart damage

April 24, 2017, American College of Cardiology

Physical activity can lower the risk of heart damage in middle-aged and older adults and reduce the levels of heart damage in people who are obese, according to research published today in JACC: Heart Failure.

Obesity is associated with structural and functional abnormalities in the and subsequent . Heart may be caused by subclinical myocardial damage, in which there is damage to the heart muscle but a patient does not show sign or symptoms.

Researchers examined 9,427 patients aged 45-64 years without cardiovascular disease and a body mass index of more than 18.5 kg/m2. Physical was measured through a questionnaire and categorized according to current guidelines as "recommended" (at least 75 minutes per week of vigorous intensity or at least 150 minutes per week of a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity), "intermediate" (1-74 minutes per week of vigorous intensity or 1-149 minutes of a combination of moderate to vigorous intensity), or "poor" (no moderate to vigorous exercise). To measure damage to the heart, researchers assessed levels of high T. Elevated levels of this biomarker are considered a marker of and have been shown to be associated with future heart failure.

Elevated levels of high sensitivity troponin T were observed in 7.2 percent of the total study population. Individuals with lower levels of were significantly more likely to have elevated levels of high sensitivity troponin suggesting higher heart damage. For example, participants who performed poor and intermediate levels of physical activity were 39 percent and 34 percent more likely to have heart damage than persons who engaged in recommended levels of physical activity.

The researchers subsequently looked at the combined associations of physical activity and with this blood marker of heart damage. Obesity had been previously shown to be strongly associated with elevated levels of high sensitivity troponin, and the combination of obesity and elevated troponin was associated with a significantly increased risk of future heart failure. In the current study, the authors demonstrated that participants with obesity who performed poor levels of exercise had the highest likelihood of having elevated high sensitivity troponin levels. Participants with obesity who performed recommended levels of physical activity had a weaker association with elevated levels of high sensitivity troponin, and after adjustment for traditional cardiac risk factors, this was association was no longer statistically significant. These results suggest physical activity may lessen the association of obesity and heart damage. The authors also found a significant interaction between physical activity and obesity on elevated levels of high sensitivity troponin, which indicates that the protective association of physical activity and heart damage may be stronger among individuals with obesity, a group at particularly high risk for future heart failure.

"The protective association of physical activity against subclinical myocardial may have implication for heart failure risk reduction, particularly among the high-risk group of individuals with excess weight," said Roberta Florido, MD, cardiology fellow at Johns Hopkins Hospital and lead author of the study. "Promoting physical activity may be a particularly important strategy for heart failure risk reductions among high risk groups such as those with obesity."

In an accompanying editorial comment, Tariq Ahmad, MD, MPH, FACC, and Jeffrey M. Testani, MD, MTR, said they encourage cardiologists to promote healthy habits rather than simply treating heart failure after it has developed.

"In this report we add to the body of evidence supporting moderate physical activity and its protective effect in the setting of obesity," said JACC: Heart Failure Editor-in-Chief Christopher O'Connor, MD, FACC.

Explore further: Cardiorespiratory fitness impacts BMI-related heart failure risk

Related Stories

Cardiorespiratory fitness impacts BMI-related heart failure risk

April 7, 2017
(HealthDay)—Higher body mass index (BMI) is associated with increased risk of heart failure, which is largely explained by differences in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), according to a study published online April 5 in ...

Increased physical activity, lower BMI may lower heart failure risk

February 27, 2017
Lifestyle patterns, including physical activity and body mass index (BMI), are associated with a risk of overall heart failure but are more strongly associated with the heart failure subtype HFpEF, according to a study published ...

Physical activity: More is better for heart failure prevention

October 5, 2015
Doubling or quadrupling the minimum federally recommended levels of physical activity lowered the risk of developing heart failure by 20 percent and 35 percent, respectively, according to research published in the American ...

Exercise can reduce heart failure risk at any age

November 21, 2015
(HealthDay)—Starting to exercise later in life can still reduce risk of heart failure, and even modest increases in activity could provide some protection, researchers say. The study was presented earlier this month at ...

Blood test can detect heart damage after non-cardiac surgery

March 20, 2017
A blood test for a protein called high-sensitivity troponin T, which is released into the bloodstream when injury to the heart occurs, can identify patients with heart damage after non-cardiac surgery whose lives could potentially ...

Benefits of physical activity may outweigh impact of obesity on cardiovascular disease

March 1, 2017
The benefits of physical activity may outweigh the impact of overweight and obesity on cardiovascular disease in middle-aged and elderly people, according to research published today in the European Journal of Preventive ...

Recommended for you

Predicting leaky heart valves with 3-D printing

December 10, 2018
More than one in eight people aged 75 and older in the United States develop moderate-to-severe blockage of the aortic valve in their hearts, usually caused by calcified deposits that build up on the valve's leaflets and ...

Study points to optimal blood pressure treatment for stroke patients

December 10, 2018
Aggressive treatment of hypertension in stroke patients could do more harm than good in the long term, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Georgia.

Team uses gene editing to personalize clinical care for family with cardiomyopathy

December 10, 2018
A little over a year ago, a 65-year-old woman with severe hypertrophic cardiomyopathy—a condition in which the heart's muscle becomes abnormally thick, potentially causing dangerous irregular heartbeats—had her genes ...

Researchers explore what's behind Mediterranean diet and lower cardiovascular risk

December 7, 2018
A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers insights from a cohort study of women in the U.S. who reported consuming a Mediterranean-type ...

Increasing statins dose and patient adherence could save more lives

December 7, 2018
Thousands of heart attacks and deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented by patients taking higher doses of statins and taking the drugs as advised by doctors.

Progress made in transplanting pig hearts into baboons

December 6, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S. has transplanted pig hearts into baboons and kept them alive for an extended period of time. In their paper published in the ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.