Low cardiorespiratory fitness, even among those who are considered fit and healthy, could be a warning sign of future coronary heart disease (CHD), suggests research published in the European Heart Journal.
Researchers examined data on peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) measured by cardiopulmonary exercise testing and associations with fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease (CHD) or coronary revascularisation among 4,527 healthy and fit adults in Norway from the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT3).
After an average follow-up time of nearly nine years, the risk of the primary endpoint fell by around 15 per cent per one-MET (metabolic equivalent task) higher VO2peak (HR 0.85; 95% CI 0.77-0.93), with similar results in men and women.
Those in the highest quartile of VO2peak had 48 per cent lower risk of event compared with the lowest quartile (multi-adjusted HR 0.52; 95% CI 0.33-0.82; P<.005>
"Our results should encourage the use of exercise as preventive medicine. A few months of regular exercise may be an efficient way of reducing the cardiovascular risk,” said lead author, Dr Jon Magne Letnes from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The authors said future studies should pursue integration of VO2peak into risk prediction algorithms.