Heart disease: Doctor explains how to reduce risk in 2021
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Heart and other circulatory diseases account for around a quarter of deaths in the UK every year, making it one of the biggest killers in the region. Coronary heart disease is the most common type. It occurs when arteries are narrowed by a build-up of fatty substances along their walls and can be fatal if left untreated.
Common causes of heart disease are acknowledged as being overweight, smoking, and having high cholesterol and diabetes.
Lack of exercise is also often cited by health bodies as a reason.
Inactivity can cause fatty deposits to build-up in the arteries, the NHS warns.
However, a study has found that every time you increase your time spent being inactive by 10 minutes it can raise your risk for heart disease.
It also raises your chance of all-cause mortality by 5.6 percent.
Similarly, every extra 10 minutes of physical activity lowers the risk of death by 6.5 percent.
The research, which was published in BMC Geriatrics journal in 2022, said: “Low levels of physical activity (PA) and high sedentary time (ST) are common in older adults and lack of PA is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
“Knowledge about associations with accelerometer-measured PA, ST and CVD risk in older adults is insufficient.
“This study examines the associations of accelerometer-measured PA and ST with cardiovascular risk measured using the Framingham risk score (FRS) and all-cause mortality in older adults.”
As part of the study the team looked at data from 660 older people with an average age of 69.
Their physical activity and sedentary time were measured with wrist-worn accelerometers for two weeks.
Their 10-year cardiovascular disease risk was estimated with the Framingham risk score and data for all-cause mortality was studied after an average of 6.2 years follow-up.
It said: “Each 10 minute increase in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and light physical activity (LPA) was negatively associated with FRS while a 10 minute increase in high sedentary time (ST) was positively associated with FRS.
“After adjustment for waist circumference, only ST was significantly associated with the Framingham risk score (FRS).
“Each 10 minute increase in LPA was associated with 6.5 percent lower all-cause mortality risk and each 10 min increase in ST with 5.6 percent increased mortality risk.”
The study concluded: “A higher amount of daily physical activity, at any intensity level, and avoidance of sedentary time are associated with reduced cardiovascular disease risk in older people.
“Higher time spent in light physical activity and lower sedentary time are associated with lower all-cause mortality.”
Other risk factors for coronary heart disease include:
- Having high blood pressure
- Having high cholesterol
- Having diabetes
- Being obese or overweight
- Having a family history of the disease.
The most common signs of coronary heart disease are breathlessness and chest pain – known as angina.
During a heart attack someone might experience:
- Pain in other parts of the body
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