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How does exercise affect Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)?

One of the main causes of premature death in the U.S. is because of CHD. This is caused by the build-up of fatty deposits on the inner walls of the coronary arteries, the blood vessels lining the heart. Eventually one of the main coronary arteries may become blocked either by the buildup of fatty deposits or because a clot forms in the narrowed passage of the artery resulting in a heart attack.

There are several factors that increase the risk of developing coronary heart disease and thus the chance of a heart attack. The more risk factors you have and the higher the levels of these factors, the greater the risk of CHD. On average, each one of these factors doubles the chances of developing CHD. Fortunately, most of these risk factors can be reduced or eliminated. Exercise has a positive impact on these eight controllable CHD risk factors:

  • Increases the level of HDL cholesterol in the blood
  • Reduces the ratio of total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol
  • Lowers triglyceride levels
  • Lowers blood pressure in hypertensives
  • Reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure
  • Prevents obesity by reducing the amount of excess boody fat
  • Relieves stress and has a mollifying influence on type A behavior
  • Help prevent and control diabetes by aiding carbohydrate metabolism

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