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Not exercising makes death from cardiac arrest more likely

Heart attack patients are less likely to die instantly if they have been physically active, according to a recent study. The researchers analyzed the data of more than 28,000 people in Europe who had suffered a heart attack, to see how active or sedentary lifestyles affected their risk of dying.

They found that about 18 percent of the patients died within 28 days of their heart attack. Of them, more than 62 percent died instantly. Higher levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of dying immediately and within 28 days.

Compared with inactive patients, those with high levels of physical activity in their leisure time had a 45 percent lower risk of immediate death, and a 36 percent lower risk of death within 28 days.

Those who did moderate levels of activity had a 33 percent lower risk of immediate death. At 28 days, they had a 28 percent lower risk of death, the study found.

Low levels of physical activity did not make a statistically significant difference, according to the findings, which were published Feb. 12 in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

« Nearly 18 percent of heart attack patients died within 28 days, corroborating the severity of this condition. We found an immediate survival benefit from previous physical activity in the heart attack setting, a benefit it seemed to be preserved at 28 days, « said study author Dr. Kim Wadt Hansen, from the cardiology department at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen, Denmark.

We are more likely to have a heart attack if we do not exercise. Photo: Pixabay.

« Based on our analyzes, even a low amount of physical activity in leisure time may indeed be beneficial against fatal heart attacks, but statistical uncertainty prevents us from drawing any firm conclusions at this time, » he added in a news release from Magazine.

The researchers noted that the findings provide strong support for European guidelines, which recommend that adults of all ages get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination.

« There are many ways to be physically active at little or no cost. Our study provides further evidence on the rewards of exercise, » Hansen added. Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.

The American Heart Association has more about heart attack prevention.

SOURCE: European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, news release, Feb. 12, 2021

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