Exercise Helps to Slow the Progression of Atherosclerosis

September 10, 2012

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While regular physical activity has been shown to reduce and prevent the development of various diseases, new findings show that exercise may also help to slow the progression of atherosclerosis – a build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries that can increase the risk of stroke.

In the four-year study, published in the January issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers examined the effects of exercise on atherosclerosis in 854 middle-aged male participants. They measured the amount of plaque in the participants¹ cartoid arteries, tested the participants¹ exercise abilities and inquired about their exercise habits at the beginning and the end of the study.

They found that participants who were most active had the slowest progression of atherosclerosis, while participants who where least active had the greatest progression. Even after other risk factors were considered, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes, there was a strong connection between low physical fitness and atherosclerosis. Furthermore, researchers found that low physical fitness was the strongest risk factor in the progression of cartoid athersclerosis.

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