Can men harm their health through athletic training?
Usually, physical exercise should improve health. But if white men train at a high level, this increases the formation of so-called plaques in the main arteries in middle age. This can lead to an increased risk of developing dangerous heart diseases.
Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Kaiser Permanente employees found in their current investigation that heavy physical exercise in men can lead to plaque formation in the arteries of the heart when they are middle-aged. The doctors published the results of their study in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal.
Scientists examine 3,175 subjects
When white men do hard physical training, they have an 86 percent increased risk of developing plaque formation in the middle arteries in the arteries compared to only lightly exercising people, the scientists report. For their study, the scientists examined the physical activity of 3,175 participants with either dark or light skin tone. The so-called CARDIA study examined the presence of calcifications of the coronary arteries.
Lime in the coronary arteries increases the risk of heart disease
Limestone measurements in the coronary arteries (CAC) are a clinical measure of the accumulation of calcium and plaque in the arteries of the heart. The presence and amount of lime in the coronary arteries is an important warning sign for doctors that a patient may be at risk of developing heart disease. This measurement is therefore also a signal for the necessary early prevention.
Participants were divided into three groups
The study group consisted of CARDIA participants who underwent at least three out of eight follow-up examinations of their physical activity over a period of 25 years (between 1985 and 2011). At the start of the study, the participants were between the ages of 18 and 30. The researchers categorized these participants into three different groups based on their physical activity patterns. The first group trained less than the national guidelines recommend. The training time of these subjects was less than 150 minutes per week. The second group followed the national guidelines (150 minutes per week) and the third group trained three times more than the national guidelines recommend (more than 450 minutes per week).
Computer tomography measured the values of lime in the coronary arteries
"We expected higher levels of physical activity to be associated with lower levels of calcium in the coronary arteries over time," explains Dr. Deepika Laddu of the University of Illinois in a press release. Instead, Laddu and her colleagues found that participants in the third group had more calcium deposits in the coronary arteries when they were middle-aged compared to subjects in the first group. The limestone in the coronary arteries was measured using computer tomography during the 25th year of the study. This year of the study, participants were between 43 and 55 years old.
Similar trends in white women were not statistically significant
The results were sorted by skin color and gender. It was found that white, hard-training men were at the highest risk. These men had 86 percent more calcium in the coronary arteries. Surprisingly, there was no increased probability for dark-skinned participants who trained at this high level. A similar trend in white women was not statistically significant, the experts explain.
New study focuses on evaluating long-term training patterns
Similar population-based training time cohort studies have generated some controversy, author Dr. Jamal Rana. So we carried out the current study in order to clarify at least some of the ambiguities, adds Dr. Rana added. The evaluation of long-term training patterns from young adulthood to middle age is unique for the new study.
More research is needed
Since the study results based on long-term exercises showed a significantly different degree of risk between white and black participants, these are reasons for further studies on possible other biological mechanisms of the risk of calcification in the coronary arteries, explains Dr. Laddu. Heavy physical exertion can lead to increased arterial stress over time, which triggers a higher risk of calcification in the coronary arteries. However, such deposits could be less harmful and less likely to lead to heart attacks, the experts speculate. In the future, further studies are planned to assess the effects on the risk of heart attacks and deaths from these deposits. The results should not now cause people to stop exercising, adds Dr. Laddu added. (as)