In Hypertension, Strong Men Live Longer

( — Hypertensive men with the most muscle strength appear to have a lower risk of dying than their weaker counterparts, researchers found.

Even after controlling for cardiorespiratory fitness level and other potential confounders, men in the upper third of muscle strength were 34% less likely to die during an average follow-up of about 18 years (HR 0.66, 95% CI 0.45 to 0.98), according to Enrique Artero, PhD, of the University of Granada in Spain, and colleagues.

The men with the greatest reduction in mortality risk were those who had the most muscular strength and high fitness (HR 0.49, 95% CI 0.30 to 0.82), the researchers reported in the May 3 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Although the researchers urged caution in interpreting the results because of the low number of deaths (183), the findings are consistent with previous studies in nonhypertensive individuals.

“The apparent protective effect of muscular strength against risk of death might be due to muscular strength in itself, to respiratory muscular strength and pulmonary function, to muscle fiber type or configuration, or as a consequence of regular physical exercise, specifically resistance exercise,” Artero and his colleagues wrote.

“Hypertensive men should follow current physical activity guidelines and engage in muscle-strengthening activities that involve major muscle groups, not only to reduce resting blood pressure but also to potentially reduce long-term mortality risk,” they wrote.

The researchers noted that the physical activity guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services encourage adults to perform muscle-strengthening activities that involve major muscle groups at least two days a week, with supervision from a healthcare professional for individuals with chronic medical conditions.


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