Scientists have revealed too much exercise can kill you! A new study shows that white men who work out at least 7½ hours a week are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease as those who do a moderate amount.
Researchers in Chicago compared 25-year exercise patterns and discovered that very active white men are 86 percent more likely to experience a buildup of plaque in the heart arteries by middle age. High levels of exercise over time caused stress on the arteries, leading to higher coronary artery calcification, also known as CAC.
However, this does not apply to black men.
Scientists warned that people should not stop exercising. The team from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Kaiser Permanente looked at the physical activity trajectories of 3,175 black and white participants in the longterm CARDIA study and assessed the presence of CAC.
A patient may be at risk for developing heart disease and a signal to consider early preventive care if there is a presence and amount of CAC. It is a significant warning sign to doctors that.
Deepika Laddu, assistant professor of physical therapy at the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, said: “We expected to see that higher levels of physical activity over time would be associated with lower levels of CAC.”
They also found that at the top level of exercise, there was no extra risk for black men, but an 86 percent increased risk for white men.
The study group had eight follow-up examinations over 25 years, from 1985 through 2011, starting at age 18 to 30 and finishing at 43 to 55. Unique to the new study is the evaluation of long-term exercise patterns, from young adulthood into middle age.
Researchers divided participants into three distinct groups, based on physical activity patterns.
Group one was defined as exercising below the national guidelines of less than 150 minutes a week; group two as meeting the national guidelines of 150 minutes a week; and, group three was exercising three times above the national guidelines of over 450 minutes a week.
Those in group three were 27 percent more likely than those in group one to develop CAC by middle age.
After these findings were divided by race and gender, they found that white men were at the highest risk as they were 86 percent more likely to have CAC. But, there were no higher odds of CAC for black participants who exercised at this level. While there was a similar trend for white women, it was not statistically significant.
Laddu added: “Because the study results show a significantly different level of risk between black and white participants based on long-term exercise trajectories, the data provides rationale for further investigation, especially by race, into the other biological mechanisms for CAC risk in people with very high levels of physical activity.”
Study co-author Dr. Jamal Rana, a cardiologist at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, said, “High levels of exercise over time may cause stress in the arteries, leading to higher CAC.”
“However, this plaque buildup may well be of the more stable kind, and thus less likely to rupture and cause heart attack, which was not evaluated in this study.”
However, he added: “It does not suggest that anyone should stop exercising.”
The findings were published in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.
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