Sport, physical activities and cardiovascular diseases

Exercise and sport: Prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death in the UK. The biggest risk factor after obesity and diabetes is physical inactivity, and according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) only 40% of Women and 28% of men do the recommended amount of exercise. Physical activity is one of the best means of prevention and constitutes as a significant factor in it's treatment.

The BHF, specialist doctors and many other organisations recommend physical activity to help reduce the onset and consequences of CVD.

Remodelling of the lining of the blood vessels takes place

Cardiovascular disease is linked to the deterioration of cells that line the internal surface (endothelium) of blood vessels.

This is the thin layer of flattened cells that lines the inside of some body cavities and, in particular, blood cells:
  • They produce substances with vasodilatory action and vasoconstricting (nitric oxide: NO)
  • and which play an important role in the inflammatory process
  • They control part of the inter- and trans-cellular passage of circulating nutrients and hormones
  • and takes part in blood coagulation

Principal diseases concerned

The principal cardiovascular diseases concerned are: clogging of the arteries supplying the heart which can cause angina or a myocardial infarction, chronic heart failure and disease of the arteries that supply the organs and lower limbs.

Moderate physical activity

According to many studies, including the BHF physical activity needs to be for 30 minutes at a moderate intensity for at least 5 days per week.

The mortality of patients with CVD, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be improved considerably, reducing mortality from 25% to 35% among patients suffering from coronary heart disease.

For more information
British Heart Foundation