Improving fitness levels can significantly protect individuals with a genetic predisposition to heart disease
A study of 502,000 individuals aged 40-69 found that improving levels of fitness can change the chances of developing cardiovascular diseases significantly in those with a family history of heart disease. The study published by the journal Circulation looked at the family medical history of individuals who were then assessed for grip strength, cardiovascular fitness levels and the levels of daily actitity. After 6 years the researchers found lower incidences of heart attack and stroke in those individuals who had scored the highest in all 3 categories. The heart benefit was just as strong in those with a genetic predisposition to cardiovascular diseases as those without. In fact, the results were that the higher the fitness level of an individual the greater the benefit.
Of those individuals with an intermediate genetic risk for cardiovascular diseases it was found that the ones with the strongest grips were 36% less likely to develop heart disease and 46% less likely to develop atrial fibrillation compared to those with the weakest grips.
Of the individuals with the strongest genetic risk, those with the highest levels of cardiovascular fitness had 49% lower incidence of heart disease and 60% lower incidence of atrial fibrillation.
NOTE: Circulation is a scientific journal published by the American Heart Association.