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New study links physical inactivity to cardiovascular problems
04.19.2012People who lead sedentary lifestyles tend to have high rates of hypertension and are more likely to die from cardiovascular disease, according to a new study presented at a recent meeting of the World Congress of Cardiology. The findings suggest that inactive people may benefit from healthcare and wellness programs that encourage exercise.
The Taiwan National Health Research Institute investigators who conducted the study said the findings indicate that sedentary lifestyles and high blood pressure should be treated together as elements of the same health problem. This may help patients deal with both cardiovascular risk factors simultaneously.
In the study, the team tracked the health of more than 434,000 adults over a 12-year period. Those who tended to be sedentary had the highest rates of hypertension at the beginning of the investigation. They were also the most likely to die from cardiovascular causes during the study period.
The researchers calculated the cardiovascular risk associated with a sedentary lifestyle as being equivalent to a 40 to 50 mm/Hg increase in blood pressure.
"To date, exercise and high blood pressure have been managed separately, with people mainly being concerned about their blood pressure readings," said lead researcher CP Wen. "However, these results suggest that doctors should also discuss the importance of physical exercise as a means to manage the cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality risk."
He added that reducing blood pressure is an important goal for people with hypertension, as this is a major risk factor for developing heart disease and experiencing a cardiovascular event like a heart attack or stroke.
Healthcare and wellness programs may be able to instruct individuals on the types of exercise they need to get their blood pressure under control.
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