Monday, October 13, 2008

exercise cleans those cardiac pipes...

I like this quote:

Don’t you just love that feeling of your heart thumping in your chest when you are free to exercise again after a few days of being way too sedentary? There is a visceral joy about being alive that has to be almost as good as the feeling of removing an annoying bit of dental plaque that has been there for days when you can't find the floss. I digress – the paper sheds light on the physiological process that probably makes the difference between longevity and an early grave for many, many folk. Read about it and then turn research into practice

Here is the article (well the abstract of the article) about which he is talking:

Physical activity throughout life reduces the atherosclerotic wall process in the carotid artery

Background: Good cardiorespiratory fitness has been associated with a reduced risk for clinical events of atherosclerotic vascular diseases. It is still unclear how this relates to a slower progression of the early atherosclerosis wall process.

Method: Using a dynamic model, we generated new parameters for describing the pathologic wall process in the carotid artery, based on an automatic layer detection system. In this study, we scrutinised the influence of two ultrasonographic parameters, intima–media thickness (IMT) and roughness, by comparing two groups: a healthy inactive group (PIP) (mean (SD) age 64.37 (5.10) years; n = 50) and a healthy lifelong physically active group (PA) (mean (SD) age 64.48 (3.45) years; n = 51). All subjects underwent a blood test, spiroergometry, echocardiography and carotid ultrasound examination.

Results: There was a significant difference in the well known risk factors for cardiovascular disease (for example, high density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglyceride) between groups. PIP compared to PA had a significantly higher roughness (PIP 0.073 (0.015) vs PA 0.065 (0.0156); p<0.01). No significantly higher IMT was found for PIP (PIP 0.89 (0.18) vs PA 0.90 (0.22); p = 0.63) compared to PA. In this cross sectional study of middle aged men, VO2max was inversely associated with carotid atherosclerotic parameters.

Conclusion: In this study, good cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with an increase of the proven risk factors and a reduction of atherosclerosis in the common carotid artery. Roughness seems to be significantly more sensitive than IMT for characterising the changes of the arterial wall. We suggest measuring roughness in addition to IMT to gain additional information about the atherosclerotic wall.

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