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Lack of exercise is a risk factor for developing
coronary artery disease (CAD). Lack of physical activity can indirectly increase the risk of
CAD, because it also increases the risk for
high blood pressure. Regular physical activity can
help reduce your risk of CAD by helping you control
cholesterol and blood pressure, regulate blood sugar
(important for people with diabetes), and lose weight or stay at a healthy
Regular exercise is essential not only for preventing CAD
but also for improving your overall heart health.
It also is possible that regular physical activity increases the
number of smaller blood vessels that connect different coronary arteries. If
one of the major coronary arteries is suddenly blocked, these collateral blood
vessels serve as an alternate route to supply blood to the portion of the heart
muscle threatened by a heart attack.
Redberg RF, et al. (2009). ACCF/AHA 2009 Performance measures for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults: A report of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Task Force on Performance Measures. Circulation, 120(13): 1296–1336.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2008).
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (ODPHP
Publication No. U0036). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Current as of:
March 12, 2014
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
& John A. McPherson, MD, FACC, FSCAI - Cardiology
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