When too much sport hurts: it can increase plaque on the arteries

First of all, remember that the following should not become an alibi for the lazy. Moving regularly, following your doctor’s instructions, is essential to keep fit and protect the heart. The guidelines, not for nothing, generally recommend at least 150-300 minutes / week of moderate intensity or 75-150 minutes / week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity. In short, we must not stay in an armchair but move even if a research published in the magazine Heart warns about an apparently paradoxical aspect that should not be underestimated.

In fact, physical activity could sometimes accelerate the accumulation of calcium deposits (and therefore also the risk of developing atherosclerotic plaques) along the vessel wall. The reason? There may be an action linked to mechanical stress on the vessels themselves and the need to repair lesions of the vessels, as well as the action of hypertension. At the moment, there are no certainties about what could happen but the observational study that warns on this front brings results that need to be investigated, even if even evaluating the possible increase in intra-arterial calcium deposits, the cost-benefit ratio is largely in favor. regular exercise.

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The study of 25,000 adults

The research examined healthy adults undergoing regular full screenings at two major health centers in Seoul and Suwon, South Korea. In addition to completing a questionnaire on physical activity, lifestyle and social status, they were considered blood pressure weight and blood lipid profile. Furthermore, the presence of calcium inside coronary for an average period of three years, measuring the variations. The final analysis considered over 25,000 people (only for less than a tenth women) and demonstrated a gradual association between the level of physical activity and the prevalence and progression of calcification affecting the coronary arteries: in particular a increased physical activity was associated with faster progression of coronary calcification scores (Cac score) in both those who did not have calcium deposits at the start of the study and in those who already had signs of this type.

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Coronary calcium

As was recalled at the congress “Know and heal the heart”Held in Florence and organized by the Center for the Fight against Heart Attack directed by Francesco Prati, coronary calcium assessed by computed tomography (calcium score) is a well validated and reproducible marker of atherosclerosis. Coronary calcifications are in fact an expression of an advanced subclinical atherosclerosis (therefore which perhaps does not give symptoms) and, although they are not an expression of plaque instability, their extension is correlated with the severity and number of coronary plaques. In conclusion, moving remains fundamental in terms of prevention.

The other research

However, it must be said that it is not the first time that physical exercise at all physical exercise is good for you. Some time ago a research published in the magazine PLoS One, conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Louisiana, who examined six studies carried out on nearly 1,700 people. For about ten percent of individuals even sport even appeared to be a boomerang for health, because it worsens one of the various parameters that indicate cardiac well-being such as blood pressure, HDL cholesterol values ​​(the good one, with protective action) or triglycerides, levels of insulin (the hormone that counteracts the rise in blood sugar) in the blood. Even for seven out of a hundred people, two of these parameters would be negatively influenced by sports activity.

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