BACKGROUND: Both hypertension and age-related impairment of the cardiac condition are known to be improved by regular physical training. As relatively few studies have been reported about the older, hypertensive patients, the aim of this study was to establish cardiac benefits of active lifestyle in these subjects. METHODS: Two-dimensionally guided M-mode, Doppler- and tissue Doppler echocardiography was performed in 199 normo- and hypertensive, active and sedentary older (age >60 years) men (N.=111) and women (N.=88). Results were compared either by ANOVA, or by Kruskall- Wallis test. RESULTS: The Left Ventricular Muscle Index (LVMI), which is higher in young active than in sedentary persons, proved to be smaller in the active than sedentary older subjects: men normotensives: actives 83 vs. sedentary ones 98, hypertensives: actives 88 vs. sedentary ones 107, women normotensives: actives 77 vs. sedentary ones 89 g/m3. Diastolic function was better in the active groups demonstrated both by the ratio of the early to atrial peak blood flow velocities (men: normotensives: actives 1.03 vs. sedentary ones 0.76, women normotensives: actives 1.21 vs. sedentary ones 0.9, hypertensives: actives 1.04 vs. sedentary ones 0.88). The tissue Doppler results were also better in the active groups; the difference between the active and sedentary groups was more marked in the normotensive male groups than in the hypertensive ones. CONCLUSIONS: Active lifestyle prevents age-related pathological LV hypertrophy, and attenuates the LV diastolic dysfunction.
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