Physical fitness may have an anti-inflammatory effect that protects against heart attacks, according to a report in todays rapid access issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.
In a recent study, researchers compared the level of physical fitness in 135 women from three ethnic groups to their levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP level indicates inflammation.
Elevated CRP is associated with a two- to five-fold increase in the risk of heart attack. The researchers found lower levels of CRP among the most fit Caucasian and Native-American women compared with their less-fit peers. African-American women, however, failed to show the same strong correlation.
The researchers emphasize that because of the small number of women in their study, the results – however intriguing they might be – must be considered preliminary.
"The real test of their validity is for someone to do a large, long-term study that looks at the effect of changing peoples activity levels on their C-reactive protein, and also to see if the overall risk of cardiovascular disease changes," LaMonte says.
CAPS was funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as part of the Womens Health Initiative Community Trials. It was led by Barbara E. Ainsworth, Ph.D., senior author of the report.
Co-authors are J. Larry Durstine, Ph.D.; Frank G. Yanowitz, M.D.; Tobin Lim, B. S.; Katrina D. DuBose, M.S.; and Paul Davis, Ph.D.
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