Published: Wed, April 11, 2018
Medical | By Marta Holmes

If heart disease runs in your family, you should really do this

If heart disease runs in your family, you should really do this

The researchers examined the healthcare experiences, healthcare costs, and the use of resources in people with heart disease - all of whom had been diagnosed with depression - and compared them with those who had not received such a diagnosis.

Exercise may be the best way to keep your heart healthy, and it works even for people with a genetic pre-disposition for heart disease, according to a study.

It was revealed that high levels of cardiorespiratory fitness were associated with a 49 per cent lower risk for coronary heart disease and a 60 per cent lower risk for atrial fibrillation compared to study participants with low cardiorespiratory fitness.

"In addition, it improves metabolism, reduces body fat and inflammation, and improves immune function - all of which can contribute to heart disease", said Carol Ewing Garber from the Teachers College, Columbia University. Other health information was also gathered, including measurements of physical activity, cardiovascular fitness and grip strength (an indicator of overall muscle strength). Exercise may drastically reduce your chances of getting heart disease even if you have a genetic predisposition to contend with, Time reports.

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Erik Ingelsson, MD, PhD, professor of cardiovascular medicine, said that people should not give up exercising as they come with a high genetic risk for heart disease and even if one does not have such high genetic risk, nevertheless, one should not stop exercising.

Researchers at Stanford University in the United States found that for participants with an intermediate genetic risk for cardiovascular diseases, those with the strongest grips were 36 per cent less likely to develop coronary heart disease.

Ingelsson says people who are concerned about their heart health-especially if they already have markers of heart conditions-should consult health professionals about exercise plans.

Researchers found across the board that higher levels of fitness and physical activity were associated with lower levels of several negative cardiovascular outcomes, including coronary artery disease, stroke and atrial fibrillation.

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In the current study, the researchers first determined the fitness and activity levels of participants.

An increasing number of studies point to an intimate link between depression and heart disease risk.

The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess self-reported exercise, while wrist-worn accelerometers, hand dynamometers (grip strength) and submaximal exercise treadmill were used for objective measures. The researchers adjusted their results for a long list of confounding factors (ones known to be associated with an increased risk of heart disease), including age, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, body mass index, diabetes and smoking.

"We can't definitely claim a causal connection, observational studies are created to establish trends".

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FMI: The study can be read in full on Circulation's website.

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