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Driving to work increases risk of heart attack
11 May 2009
People who drive to work run a considerably greater risk of having a heart attack than those who are physically active on the way to work. This is shown in a new dissertation by Patrik Wennberg at Umeå University in Sweden.
Patrik Wennberg’s studies elucidate how various types of physical activity influence the risk of heart attack. Those who regularly drive to work run a 70 percent greater risk compared with those who walk, bike, or take the bus to work. The positive effect on weight and blood fats and the beneficial effects on propensity to experience blood clots and inflammation seems to be able to explain a substantial part, 40 percent of the reduced risk among those who are physically active on the way to work. High levels of recreational physical activity also lead to a lower risk of having a heart attack. High levels of physical activity at work also entail a lower risk of heart attack, but only in men.
The dissertation shows that those who use snuff but have never smoked do not run a greater risk of having a heart attack than those who do not use tobacco at all. Age, male gender, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, high blood fats, and excess weight are known risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The studies show that blood levels of markers for susceptibility to blood clots and inflammation are associated with increased risk of heart attack. Adding eight such markers enhances our ability to predict who will be affected.