Both genetic and environmental factors may be responsible for diseases, but can the former be defeated by the latter? Well, scientists from the American Heart Association (AHA) have revealed that individuals at risk of hypertension due to family history can reverse their vulnerability via physical fitness.
Almost 6,000 persons participated in the trial that was conducted by the investigators. According to the results, fit people with a parent affected by high blood pressure seemed to carry 34% less risk of hypertension themselves. This did not seem to be case with those not maintaining optimal levels of fitness.
“Understanding the roles that family history and fitness play in chronic diseases is critically important,” commented Robin P. Shook, M.S., study lead author and a doctoral graduate student in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in Columbia.
Cumulatively, physically fit individuals carried 42% lower risk of developing high blood pressure, in spite of parental history. Those modestly fit seemed to encounter 26% lower risk for the same. On the contrary, people with low fitness levels and having parents with high blood pressure apparently possessed 70% risk.
One thing to note is that being fit was associated with less risk of hypertension, with the difference between those with parental history and controls being just about 16%. However, the findings cannot be generalized as the study was restricted and did not include people from all spheres.
Reported in the journal, Hypertension, the analysis revealed that physical fitness holds the key to combat high blood pressure whether hereditary or due to other environmental causes.