The exercise that doctors ask to practice to avoid heart attacks and very few do in Spain

By Roberto Mendez. | own a adequate level of muscular time from middle age it is associated with better health, a longer life expectancy, and a lower risk of disease overall. No news. But what does having good legs have to do with the risk of heart attack and heart failure?

The heart attack orheart attack” is caused by a decrease or interruption of blood flow to the heart muscle. In addition, between 6-9% of these cardiovascular accidents are associated with heart failure, a pathology that produces a malfunction of the heart and that is really the cause of post-infarction mortality more common.

Now, a new study presented at the congress Heart Failure 2023 by the European Society of Cardiology (SEC) links the leg muscle building, a less popular exercise than those of the upper trunk and arms, with a cardioprotective effect. Having strong legs is related to less chance of heart attacka better recovery in case of suffering it and less probabilities of heart failure.

To reach this conclusion, the researchers evaluated 932 patients (81% of whom were men) who were hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction between the years 2007 and 2020. All patients had a median age of 66 years, and had no prior heart failure at the start of the study.

In all the volunteers it was measured the maximum strength of your quadriceps using a hand dynamometer. They sat in a chair and contracted their quadriceps as hard as possible for five seconds. The results were recorded in terms of relative body weight. That is, the quadriceps strength in kilograms was divided by the body weight in kilograms and multiplied by 100.

Based on the values ​​obtained for their leg muscle strength, all participants were classified above or below the usual median for their gender. The mean force value for the women was from 33% of your body weightwhile for the men was 52%. A total of 451 patients had “low” strength, while 481 had “high” strength.

Other possible factors were considered confounding factors associated with an increased risk of heart failure. These were age, sex, Body Mass Index, previous heart attack or angina pectoris, diabetes, atrial fibrillation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, peripheral arterial disease, and renal disease.

After 4.5 years of follow-up, 67 patients (7.2%) developed heart failure. An incidence of 10.2 per 1,000 person-years was observed in patients with high quadriceps strength, and 22.9 per 1,000 person-years in patients with low quadriceps strength. In other words, patients with high quadriceps strength would have 41% less risk of suffering insufficiency.

As Kensuke Ueno, co-author of the study and a physical therapist at the Graduate School of Medical Sciences at Kitasato University in Japan, explains, “The strength of the quadriceps is easy and simple to measure accurately in clinical practice. Our study indicates that this strength could help identify patients at increased risk of developing heart failure after myocardial infarction, which in turn would help them receive more intensive monitoring and surveillance.”

As study limitations, of note, the investigators measured quadriceps strength at baseline, but not continuously during follow-up. Likewise, only the strength of a single muscle areaand not of other muscles that are easy to measure, such as the biceps or forearm muscles, some of which are already used to predict cardiovascular risk in previous investigations.

Likewise, the researchers also detected that every 5% increase in body weight on quadriceps strength, the likelihood of heart failure is would reduce by 11%. As usual, it will be necessary to continue research and try to replicate these results in future studies, although the recommendation to practice strength training still valid.

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2023-06-01 19:16:03