A new study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology suggests that maintaining high levels of fitness can help reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in people with high blood pressure.
The study, which was conducted over 29 years, is the first to examine the combined effects of fitness and blood pressure on the likelihood of dying from cardiovascular disease. The author of the study, Professor Jari Laukkanen of the University of Eastern Finland, explains that physical activity may help offset some of the negative effects of high blood pressure.
However, while high fitness levels can help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease, they cannot eliminate the risk in people with high blood pressure. It is essential to keep blood pressure under control, and maintaining cardiorespiratory fitness through exercise can help strengthen the heart and reduce the workload on arteries, resulting in a fall in blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to long-term damage to the heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk of various cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, heart failure, stroke, renal failure, and other vascular diseases. Hypertension is a major risk factor for heart attacks, and reducing high blood pressure can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.
Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a measure of the fitness of the heart, lungs, and muscles. A person with high CRF can perform a strenuous physical activity because of the heart’s ability to pump more blood with each beat, the lungs’ ability to mix more oxygen with blood, and the muscles’ ability to work efficiently without fatigue. Various parameters, such as maximum oxygen uptake, heart rate, blood pressure, and respiratory rate, can be used to assess an individual’s CRF.
Low physical activity, high body weight, increased salt and alcohol intake, smoking, advanced age, and genetic susceptibility are all factors that contribute to high blood pressure. Individuals should have routine cardiovascular fitness check-ups after the age of 40, and only engage in strenuous exercise regimens with the advice of a physician.
Those under 40 but with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and a family history of heart disease, should also consult a physician before engaging in strenuous exercise. By maintaining good fitness levels and keeping blood pressure under control, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease.