NEW ORLEANS, May 5 /PRNewswire/ -- The following studies on diet & exercise are being presented during HEART RHYTHM 2005, the Heart Rhythm Society's 26th Annual Scientific Sessions May 4-7 in New Orleans: Increased, Long-Term Exercise Reduces Women's Risk of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Women may reduce their risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) by exercising more and over a longer period of time. While moderate to vigorous physical activity in women was associated with a short-term increase in the risk of SCA, the risk was lessened amid women who reported more weekly exercise. Moreover, the overall long-term risk of SCA during the study's 18 years of follow up was lower with increased physical activity. Among almost 70,000 women without cardiovascular disease or history of stroke, the relative risk of SCA within one hour of moderate/vigorous exertion was 6.2. But for women with two or more hours of moderate/vigorous exertion a week, the risk was 3.3 -- compared to 20.9 for women who exercised less than two hours a week. The study is the first to assess both the short- and long-term risk of SCA conferred by exercise among women. Investigators at Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston say, "Although it is difficult to compare our study with similar ones conducted among men, our study suggests the risk of SCA associated with physical activity may be lower in women than in men." Marathoners Run Increased Risk of Abnormal, Rapid Heart Beat Athletes who participate in endurance sports such as marathons are significantly more likely to experience atrial fibrillation (AF) than are inactive people. While marathoners fare far better than sedentary individuals on cardiovascular risk factors such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure and heart rate, endurance runners are eight to 14 times more likely to develop AF. The 10-year study compared 305 inactive people to 270 athletes who ran in the 1993 Barcelona Marathon. AF was documented in eight runners and two control group individuals. Investigators at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, Spain, conclude that " ... although endurance sport practice may reduce cardiovascular events such as heart attack and stroke, it may also have a negative effect in facilitating the appearance of lone atrial fibrillation." Electrical Imbalance May Contribute To Sudden Cardiac Death In Obese Men (Poster Session) Electrical imbalances in the heart may be a risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD) in obese men. The community-based study in Multnomah, OR, evaluated the electrocardiograms of more than 300 residents who suffered sudden cardiac death and found the QT intervals (the time for electrical relaxation of the heart's lower chambers) in obese men were significantly longer than people of normal weight. Long QT intervals are predictors for SCD. In women, QT intervals were not affected by obesity. Investigators at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland hope to find novel ways of preventing SCD in the general population.
SOURCE Heart Rhythm Society