Long-term exercise crucial to combat high blood pressure: study

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Maintaining exercise levels from youth to middle age key for heart health, study finds.

NEW YORK, June 11: A recent study conducted across four US cities suggests that maintaining regular exercise levels from young adulthood through middle age is crucial for protecting against high blood pressure and related health risks. The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in April 2021, sheds light on the importance of sustained physical activity for long-term cardiovascular health.

Lead author and epidemiologist Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), highlighted the significance of physical activity patterns over a lifetime. While exercise has long been known to lower blood pressure, this research emphasizes the need for consistent activity levels, particularly during young adulthood, to prevent hypertension.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, poses serious health risks, including heart attack, stroke, and dementia, affecting billions globally. Despite its prevalence, many individuals remain unaware of their condition due to its asymptomatic nature, earning it the moniker of the “silent killer.”

The study tracked over 5,100 adults over three decades, examining their exercise habits, smoking status, alcohol intake, and blood pressure measurements. Results revealed a decline in physical activity levels from ages 18 to 40, coinciding with an increase in hypertension rates.

Lead author Jason Nagata, a young adult medicine expert at UCSF, emphasized the need to reevaluate minimum physical activity standards. Those who engaged in at least five hours of moderate exercise weekly during early adulthood demonstrated significantly lower hypertension risk, especially if they maintained these habits into their sixties.

However, challenges in sustaining physical activity emerged, particularly as individuals navigated life transitions such as college, work, and parenthood. Racial disparities also surfaced, with Black participants experiencing steeper declines in activity levels and higher rates of hypertension compared to their White counterparts.

The study underscores the complex interplay of social and economic factors in shaping health outcomes. While acknowledging the limitations of the study in assessing these factors directly, researchers emphasize the need for targeted interventions to address disparities and promote lifelong heart health.

This news has been read 652 times!

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