The risk of dying from serious illnesses like heart disease and cancer is relatively low for women who exercise vigorously regularly, according to a new study. The goal of the study was to examine heart function during exercise in women and its association with survival. The study's findings were presented at the EuroEcho 2019.
"Exercise as much as you can. Fitness protects against death from any cause," study author Jesus Peteiro from University Hospital A Coruna in Spain told a news portal. For the study, the team examined data of 4,000 women who had to go through exercise echocardiography to suspected coronary artery disease.
Some participants walked on a treadmill, while others ran. Participants gradually increased the intensity of their workout until they reached the point of exhaustion. The team defined fitness as the highest amount of workload of 10 metabolic equivalents (METs), which is the equivalent of walking fast up three or four flights of stairs without taking a break. The results revealed METs had a major impact on reducing the risk of death from serious health issues cancer and heart disease.
"Good exercise capacity predicted a lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other causes," Peteiro told a news portal. Adding, "The results were the same for women over 60 and less than 60 although the group under 50 was small."
The team also studied imaging of the heart while the women undertook the exercise test. Those whose heart's were poorly functioning while they exercised were likely to die from cardiovascular disease, according to the findings. However, heart function during exercise did not indicate the chances of death from cancer or other serious health issues.
"Looking at both examinations together, women whose heart works normally during exercise are unlikely to have a cardiovascular event. But if their exercise capacity is poor, they are still at risk of death from cancer or other causes," Peteiro told a news portal. Adding, "The best situation is to have normal heart performance during exercise and good exercise capacity."
Another study, presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019, warns against eating too much ultra-processed food as it can be damaging to your heart. "Healthy diets play an important role in maintaining a healthy heart and blood vessels," Zefeng Zhang, an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a news portal. Adding, "Eating ultra-processed foods often displaces healthier foods that are rich in nutrients, like fruit, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, which are strongly linked to good heart health. In addition, ultra-processed foods are often high in salt, added sugars, saturated fat and other substances associated with increasing the risk of heart disease."
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