Physical activity and carotid atherosclerosis risk reduction in population with high risk for cardiovascular diseases: a cross-sectional study

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Abstract

Background: Decreased physical activity had been reported to be a common causal and modifiable risk factor for major vascular events. However, the relationship of physical activity and sedentary leisure time with carotid atherosclerosis in population with high risk for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) is still inconclusive. We aimed to evaluate the association of physical activity and sedentary leisure time with the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, and investigate any possible effect modifiers in population with high risk for CVDs. Methods: The study population was drawn from the China Patient-Centered Evaluative Assessment of Cardiac Events (PEACE) Million Persons Project-Jiangsu project, which is a population-based screening project that included permanent residents aged 35-75 years from 6 surveillance cities in Jiangsu Province. Linear regression models were used to evaluate the association of physical activity and sedentary leisure time with carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT). The risks of abnormal carotid artery and carotid plaque (CP) were estimated by odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) using logistic regression. Results: Overall, a total of 10,920 participants were enrolled in the final analysis. There was a significant inverse association of physical activity level with CIMT (per SD increase: β=-0.0103; 95%CI: -0.0154, -0.0053). The risk of abnormal carotid artery and CP decreased significantly with the increase of physical activity level (per SD increase: OR=0.908, 95%CI: 0.869-0.948; OR=0.900, 95%CI: 0.857-0.945, respectively). When physical activity level was categorized as quartiles, a significantly lower risk of abnormal carotid artery and CP was found in quartiles 2-4 with quartile 1 as reference (P<0.05 for all). Furthermore, the inverse association were stronger in participants with age ≥60 years (vs. <60 years, Pinteraction<0.001 for both). However, there were no significant association of sedentary leisure time with CIMT, abnormal carotid artery and CP. Conclusions: In population with high risk for CVDs, physical activity was inversely associated with CIMT, abnormal carotid artery and CP, particularly among the elders. Sedentary leisure time was not associated with them. These results suggested that physical activity is important for carotid vascular health, and perhaps especially in elder population.

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Chen, L., Bi, Y., Su, J., Cui, L., Han, R., Tao, R., … Qin, Y. (2022). Physical activity and carotid atherosclerosis risk reduction in population with high risk for cardiovascular diseases: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-12582-6

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