Exercise, Inflammation and Cardiovascular Health 2
Cardiovascular disease is responsible for the majority of
deaths in the developed world (Murray, C. J. and Lopez, A.
D 1997). Inflammation plays a major role in the atherosclerotic
disease process (Pearson et al. 2003). All stages, ie. initiation,
growth, and complication of the atherosclerotic plaque, might
be considered to be an inflammatory response to injury (Libby
P, Ridker PM 1999).
Exercise has been found to reduce the known risk factors
that contribute to cardiovascular diseases, such as inflammatory/hemostatic
factors and blood pressure. Mora et al. (2007) found that
in an epidemiological study of 27, 055 apparently healthy
woman, those that reported regularly participating in physical
activity had a substantially improved biomarkers (inflammatory/hemostatic
biomarkers showed the largest change (32.6%), followed by
blood pressure (27.1%)) demonstrating an inverse relationship
between amount of exercise done and incidents of inflammation
and cardiovascular disease (Mora et al. 2007).
levels of physical activity are associated with fewer incidents
of cardiovascular disease. Although the precise mechanisms underlying
this inverse association are unclear, differences in several cardiovascular
risk factors may mediate this effect (Ross, 1999).
The reason for this is that following acute exercise, there is
a transient increase in circulating levels of anti-inflammatory
cytokines, whereas chronic exercise reduces basal levels of pro-inflammatory
cytokines. Exercise training also induces the expression of antioxidant
and anti-inflammatory mediators in the vascular wall that may directly
inhibit the development of atherosclerosis(Wilund, 2007). The factors
that contribute to atherosclerosis and the development of atherosclerotic
plaque are commonly considered to be cigarette smoking, hypertension,
atherogenic lipoproteins, and hyperglycemia (Sullivan, 1996). Wilund(2007)
also found that through investigation on animal models that exercise
is atheroprotective, helping to limit the formation of atherosclerotic
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Plutzky J. Inflammatory pathways in atherosclerosis and acute coronary
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Libby P, Ridker PM. Novel inflammatory markers of coronary risk.
Circulation. 1999; 100: 1148–1150
Sullivan, J. M. Practical aspects of preventing and managing
atherosclerotic disease in post-menopausal women
European Heart Journal 1996; 17: 32-37
Wilund, K.R.Is the anti-inflammatory effect of regular exercise
responsible for reduced cardiovascular disease? Clinical Science.
Murray, C. J. and Lopez, A. D. Global mortality, disability, and
the contribution of risk factors: Global Burden of Disease Study.
Lancet 1997; 347:1436–1442