Does heart disease run in your family? You could most likely slash your risk of developing or dying from heart disease if you are physically fit.

Being strong helps too.

Those are the findings of the largest study to date of the associations between exercise, fitness and cardiac genetics.

Its results also indicate that, regardless of our genetic inheritance, all of us can benefit by moving more.

There is a considerable interest today in understanding what the gene variations we carry can tell us about our health, heritage and possible future risks for a wide-variety of diseases.

Researchers have begun using a technique called genome-wide-association studies to tease out such risks.

Basically, they map people's entire genomes and crosscheck that information against health outcomes to see whether people with gene snippet A also have the heart disease or Alzheimer's or breast cancer or another disease.

Heart diseases has naturally received particular attention from genetics researchers, since it kills more people worldwide than any other disease.

In the past years, geneticists have isolated a number of gene variations that are strongly associated with serious  heart conditions  and can be pinpointed with genetic testing.

But some past studies have hinted that people's lifestyles, including how they eat and exercise, can ease even strong inherited risks for heart problems.

Most of such studies have examined a range of lifestyle issues.

For the new study, which was published this month  in  Circulation, researchers at  Stanford  university, and other institutions decided to focus specifically on the role of  physical fitness.

Because they also wanted to include a large and varying group people in the study, they turned to the trove of data gathered in Britain in the U.K.

Biobank, which houses health information about more than 500,000 men and women who were between ages 40 and 69 at the study's start in 2006.

All of the participants had provided blood and saliva samples for genetic testing, filled out extensive questionnaires about their exercise and other health habits, and in some cases-

Sweated on a stationery bike or tread mill and later squeezed a vise-like gadget to quantify their aerobic fitness and muscular strength.

Some also wore activity monitors and for a week to objectively track how how much they moved.

The researchers zeroed in on the 482, 702 men and women in the study who had had no known  heart disease at the start, genetically typing their tissue samples, looking foe various snippets of genes known to raise heart disease risk.

They also stratified them into three groups, based on how fit and strong they were.

The publishing of latest Operational Research on Health, Life and Diseases continues to part 2.  And !WOW! thanks author and researcher Gretchen Reynolds.


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