Sedentary Lifestyle Puts Older Men at Risk for Heart Failure

Older men who worry about their risk for heart failure can do something about it: spend more time being active.

Men who sit around and report low levels of physical activity were at a significantly higher risk for heart failure than those who were more active, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure.

Sedentary men were 52 percent more likely to develop heart failure than those who had higher levels of physical activity. Those who spent at least five hours every day sitting were 34 percent more likely to develop heart failure compared to men who spent less than two hours a day.

Researchers followed more than 82,000 men, ages 45 and older, for more than 10 years for the study.

“Though traditionally we know quite a bit about the positive impact that physical activity has on cardiovascular disease, we know significantly less about the relationship between physical activity and heart failure,” said Deborah Rohm, the study’s lead author and researcher at Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. “The results of this large study of a racially and ethnically diverse population reinforce the importance of a physically active, and importantly, a non-sedentary lifestyle for reducing the risk of heart failure.”

Heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to maintain proper blood flow, the news release states. More than 5 million Americans were affected by this serious cardiovascular disease in 2012, according to the American Heart Association.

About half of those who develop heart failure, die within five years of diagnosis, the news release states.

Primary risk factors for the condition include:

  • coronary heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • lack of physical activity

Sources: Kaiser Permanente news release, American Heart Association, Circulation: Heart Failure

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