Good News for Men: Increased Cardiorespiratory Fitness May Delay Dyslipidemia

JACC in a Flash | Men who have higher levels of cardiorespiratory fitness may delay the increase in blood cholesterol levels that commonly occur with aging by up to 15 years. This finding was published in the May 11 issue of JACC.

It is common for cholesterol levels to rise until middle age and then decrease. Previous studies have found that unfavorable levels of cholesterol are important risk factors for chronic heart disease. There is also evidence to suggest that physical activity can help to improve lipid levels.

In the study, data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study was used to assess levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides in a total of 11,418 individuals who were observed during health examinations between 1970 and 2006 at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, TX. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a treadmill test. After cardiorespiratory fitness levels were standardized for age, subjects were placed into low, middle and high fitness categories, and cholesterol and triglycerides were analyzed after an overnight fast.

Researchers found that total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides all increased up to a certain age and then decreased while the inverse was true for HDL cholesterol. Men with lower cardiorespiratory fitness had a higher risk of developing high cholesterol in their early 30s while men with high fitness did not see this development until their mid-40s. Additionally, men with low cardiorespiratory fitness reached abnormal HDL and non-HDL cholesterol levels around their early 20s and mid-30s, respectively, while those with higher fitness saw normal amounts for the entire lifespan.

The authors add that these findings support increased promotion of cardiorespiratory fitness, especially in young to middle-age men, in order to delay the onset of dyslipidemia and its related cardiovascular disease.

In an accompanying editorial, Paolo Boffetta, MD, professor of medicine at the Institute of Translation Epidemiology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, also stressed the importance of encouraging cardiorespiratory fitness. “The prevalence of physical inactivity in the United States continues to rise, especially in younger age groups,” he said. “It is important to now direct efforts towards translating these findings to clinical and preventative practice. Greater emphasis needs to be made on educating the public on the importance of exercise and clinicians should help counsel patients on fitness regimens.”

Park Y, Sui X, Liu J, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;65(19):2091-100.

Clinical Topics: Diabetes and Cardiometabolic Disease, Dyslipidemia, Prevention, Lipid Metabolism, Nonstatins, Exercise

Keywords: CardioSource WorldNews, Aging, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cholesterol, Exercise, Male, Heart Diseases, Risk Factors

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