Can physical activity increase the risk of heart attack? | Health Info


Seoul: While there are many health benefits of exercise, physical activity can ironically also accelerate the build-up of calcium deposits (plaque) in the coronary arteries, the amount of which is used to measure the potential risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), according to a study.

However, the study did not outweigh the many health benefits of regular exercise that may help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart attacks / strokes, and death, among others.

Physical activity can increase coronary atherosclerosis (narrowing of the artery) by mechanical stress and damage to the vascular wall and by the physiological responses it elicits, such as increased blood pressure and blood pressure. parathyroid hormone, said an international team of researchers from Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine in Seoul. South Korea and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Maryland, United States.

“The second possibility is that physical activity may increase CAC (coronary artery calcium) scores without increasing the risk (of cardiovascular disease),” they said. CAC is used to guide treatment to prevent a heart attack or stroke. Physical activity can also alter the effect of diet, vitamins and minerals, suggests the study published online in the journal Heart.

The team studied 25,485 healthy adults aged at least 30 who underwent regular comprehensive examinations at two large health centers in Seoul and Suwon, South Korea, between March 2011 and December 2017.

The results showed that those who were more physically active tended to be older and less likely to smoke than those who were less physically active. They also had lower total cholesterol, higher blood pressure, and existing evidence of calcium deposits in their coronary arteries.

A gradual association between the level of physical activity and the prevalence and progression of coronary artery calcification appeared over time, independent of CAC scores at the start of the surveillance period.

But higher physical activity was associated with faster progression of CAC scores both in those without calcium deposits and in those who already had a CAC score at the start of the monitoring period.

This is an observational study, and as such, cannot establish the cause. The researchers also recognize several limitations of the study, including the lack of an objective assessment of physical activity; and no data on incident heart attacks / strokes or on the density or volume of CACs.

“The cardiovascular benefits of physical activity are unquestionable,” the researchers stressed, reiterating the guidelines recommending at least 150-300 minutes / week of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes / week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. .

“Patients and physicians, however, should consider that participating in physical activity may accelerate the progression of coronary calcium, possibly due to scarring, stabilization and calcification of the plaque, as they have said. note.


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