According to a new study, high levels of fitness can reduce the risk of death from cardiovascular disease in men with high blood pressure.
The study included 2,280 men aged 42 to 61 years living in eastern Finland, and the researchers examined the interplay between blood pressure, fitness, and the risk of death from cardiovascular disease over a 29-year period.
They found that both high blood pressure and low fitness levels were each associated with an increased risk of heart death.
High fitness levels reduced, but did not eliminate, the increased risk of cardiovascular mortality in men with elevated blood pressure.
The team found men with high blood pressure and low fitness had a more than doubled risk of cardiovascular death compared to those with normal blood pressure and high fitness.
The study suggests that being fit helps protect against some of the negative effects of high blood pressure.
The inability of cardiorespiratory fitness to completely eliminate the risk of heart disease death in those with high blood pressure could partly be due to the strong, independent and causal link between blood pressure and heart disease.
Therefore, the researchers recommend that getting blood pressure under control should remain a goal in those with elevated levels.
They suggest that men with high blood pressure should also aim to improve their fitness levels with regular physical activity.
The study also found that Hispanic individuals are at a higher risk of poor fat distribution and its associated diseases.
Men who are commonly classified as being either underweight or obese using BMI had unhealthier adipose tissue distribution than normally believed, and the opposite was true for women.
Overall, the study highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, which is a major cause of premature death globally.
Adults are recommended to strive for at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination, to reduce all-cause death, cardiovascular death, and illness.
Other ways to prevent high blood pressure include:
Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese increases the risk of high blood pressure, so maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet and regular exercise is important.
Eating a healthy diet: Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein while limiting saturated and trans fats, salt, and added sugars can help lower blood pressure.
Reducing salt intake: Consuming too much salt can raise blood pressure, so it is recommended to limit sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day or less.
Limiting alcohol consumption: Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can raise blood pressure, so it is recommended to limit alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
Managing stress: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, so it is important to find healthy ways to manage stress, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga.
Quitting smoking: Smoking raises blood pressure and damages blood vessels, so quitting smoking is an important step in preventing high blood pressure.
If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about unhealthy habits that could increase high blood pressure risk, and people with severe high blood pressure should reduce coffee intake.
For more information about blood pressure, please see recent studies that early time-restricted eating could help improve blood pressure, and results showing plant-based foods could benefit people with high blood pressure.
The study was conducted by Jari A Laukkanen et al and published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
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