Physical activity is thought to be cardioprotective, but associations with different subtypes of cardiovascular disease (CVD) are poorly understood. We examined associations between physical activity and seven major CVD death causes. The sample comprised 65,093 adults (aged 58 ± 12 years, 45.4% men) followed up over mean [SD] 9.4 ± 4.5 years, recruited from The Health Survey for England and the Scottish Health Surveys. A CVD diagnosis was reported in 9.2% of the sample at baseline. Physical activity was self-reported. Outcomes were subtypes of CVD death; acute myocardial infarction; chronic ischaemic heart disease; pulmonary heart disease; a composite of cardiac arrest, arrhythmias, and sudden cardiac death; heart failure; cerebrovascular; composite of aortic aneurysm and other peripheral vascular diseases. There were 3050 CVD deaths (30.8% of all deaths). In Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for confounders, physical activity was associated with reduced relative risk of all CVD outcomes; compared with the lowest, the highest physical activity quintile was associated with reduced risk of acute myocardial infarction (Hazard ratio 0.66: 95% CI 0.50, 0.89), chronic ischaemic heart disease (0.49: 0.38, 0.64), pulmonary heart disease (0.48: 0.22, 1.07), arrhythmias (0.18: 0.04, 0.76); heart failure (0.35: 0.20, 0.63), cerebrovascular events (0.53: 0.38, 0.75); aneurysm and peripheral vascular diseases (0.54: 0.34, 0.93). Results were largely consistent across participants with and without existing CVD at baseline. Physical activity was associated with reduced risk of seven major CVD death causes. Protective benefits were apparent even at levels of activity below the current recommendations.
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Physical activity