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Chronic Strenuous Physical Activity At Work Could Harm Cardiovascular Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Rachel E. Climie PhD

Paris Cardiovascular Research Center (PARCC)
Integrative Epidemiology of Cardiovascular Disease Team,
University de Paris, Paris, France. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: It is well known that physical activity (PA) is beneficial for cardiovascular health. However, little consideration is given as to whether different domains of PA have differing associations with health outcomes. Indeed, recent work has shown that high amounts of PA at work are associated with increased risk of early death, however the underlying mechanisms are unknown.

In this study, we explored the relationship between physical activity at work, during leisure time and as structured sport with baroreflex sensitivity. We distinguished between the mechanical (dependent on the stiffness of the arterial wall) and neural (nerve impulses sent by the receptors on the walls of the artery) components of the baroreflex. Importantly, baroreflex sensitivity is crucial for short- term blood pressure control and reduced baroreflex function is related to higher risk of cardiac mortality and sudden death. 

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We showed that high amounts of physical activity at work (such as routinely carrying heavy loads) appears to be more strongly associated with an abnormal neural baroreflex and greater arterial stiffness. Such activity could therefore be harmful for cardiovascular health, and in particular may be associated with heart rhythm disorders.

On the other hand, high-intensity sporting physical activity is associated with a better neural baroreflex. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: These findings do not suggest that movement at work is harmful for health, instead they suggest that chronic, strenuous activity (such as lifting heavy loads) at work may be. 

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Future work is needed to determine whether the association between physical activity at work and premature death can be explained by an impairment in neural baroreflex sensitivity.  


Association Between Occupational, Sport, and Leisure Related Physical Activity and Baroreflex Sensitivity

The Paris Prospective Study III
Rachel E. Climie ,Pierre Boutouyrie,Marie-Cecile Perier,Edouard Chaussade,Mattieu Plichart ,Lucile Offredo ,Catherine Guibout,Thomas T. van Sloten ,Frederique Thomas, et al

Originally published 4  Nov 2019

Hypertension. ;0:HYPERTENSIONAHA.119.13461


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Last Updated on November 5, 2019 by Marie Benz MD FAAD