Effect of Exercise on Coronary Artery Calcification

HealthDay News — White males who participate in 3 times the recommended physical activity (PA) guidelines over many years have higher odds of developing coronary subclinical atherosclerosis by middle age, according to a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Deepika R. Laddu, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues analyzed responses from 3175 participants of the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study who self-reported PA by questionnaire at eight follow-up examinations over 25 years (March 1985-June 1986 through June 2010-May 2011). The objective was to examine PA trajectories from young to middle age and evaluate associations with the prevalence of coronary artery calcification (CAC).

The researchers identified 3 distinct PA trajectories: trajectory 1, below PA guidelines (n = 1813; 57.1%); trajectory 2, meeting PA guidelines (n = 1094; 34.5%); and trajectory 3, 3 times PA guidelines (n = 268; 8.4%). Higher adjusted odds of CAC <0 were seen among trajectory 3 participants (adjusted odds ratio, 1.27; 95% confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.7) vs those in trajectory 1. White participants who engaged in PA 3 times the guidelines had higher odds of developing CAC >0 (odds ratio, 1.8; 95% confidence interval, 1.21 to 2.67), as did white males (odds ratio, 1.86; 95% confidence interval, 1.16 to 2.98). Similar but nonsignificant trends were seen for white females (odds ratio, 1.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.79 to 3.71). However, among black participants, no higher odds of CAC >0 for trajectory 3 were seen.

“These findings warrant further exploration, especially by race, into possible biological mechanisms for CAC risk at very high levels of PA,” conclude the authors.

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Laddu DR, Rana JS, Murillo R, et al. 25-year physical activity trajectories and development of subclinical coronary artery disease as measured by coronary artery calcium: the coronary artery risk development in young adults (CARDIA) study. Mayo Clin Proc. 2017 Nov;92(11):1660-1670.