New research findings show that young females on the lowest end of the physical activity spectrum are more likely to develop blood clots from platelet activation. With a unique study using multiple tools to measure cardiorespiratory fitness, scientists from the Medical University of Vienna showed that people can decrease their risk of heart disease in a relatively short period of time with a few lifestyle changes.
It’s no shocker that scientists are saying people who do not exercise much are at risk for heart disease. What’s great about the current study, though, is that scientists are showing how females in a high risk group for atherosclerosis, a chronic inflammatory disease of blood vessels, and other dangerous cardiovascular events are capable of reversing their condition.
In a study of female participants, all young, healthy, and non-smoking, scientists grouped each person into low, medium, or high cardiorespiratory fitness groups based on their reported activity levels. They followed up with more precise tests to measure cardiorespiratory fitness: recording maximal oxygen consumption (V02max) during an incremental treadmill exercise test. The low fitness group’s V02max was less than 45, the medium group between 45 and 55, and the high group greater than 55.
In addition, researchers measured platelet activation state by looking at the expression of two relevant markers of activity: CD62P and CD40L.
In comparison to the medium and high fitness groups, the low fitness group showed increased levels of platelet activation in accordance with their lower cardiorespiratory fitness levels. Although the medium and high group levels for platelet activation were essentially equal, there was a visible discrepancy between cardiorespiratory fitness levels.
The participants from the low cardiorespiratory fitness group then completed a supervised training program that lasted “two menstrual cycles.” The training program consisted of running for no more than 40 minutes three times a week. After completing the program, the researchers compared their platelet activity measurements again to the medium and high level fitness groups, and the levels were much more similar. However, the cardiorespiratory fitness levels were still visibly different.
Overall, females with low cardiorespiratory fitness and high platelet activation are almost twice as likely to experience dangerous cardiovascular events as females with average to very good fitness. When platelets are activated at an enhanced rate, dangerous amounts of blood clots form which can block blood vessels and cut off oxygen and nutrient supply to vital organs. Also, platelets themselves release chemicals that prompt development of harmful atherosclerotic vascular changes.
Excessive platelet activation clearly instigates harmful conditions for proper heart function, including encourage inflammatory processes, causing “rapid deterioration of the clinical picture in patients with cardiovascular diseases.” Small but consistent changes can improve this clinical picture drastically, especially as a preventative measure. Scientists hope that the quickly obtained results from a small lifestyle change will give people the confidence to make a change in their lives.
Sources: Medical University of Vienna
, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise