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Study calls for making cardiorespiratory fitness a part of annual check-up

IANS May 06, 2024

Making cardiorespiratory fitness a part of your annual health checkups can help you gauge your health status and understand the risk of underlying disease as well as predict mortality, according to a study.

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), also known as cardio or aerobic fitness can be defined as the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity.

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), an individual's aerobic fitness level can indicate factors such as smoking, hypertension, and high cholesterol.

The study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, suggests the need to incorporate this measure in routine clinical and public health practice. It comes amid reports of even seemingly healthy and fit people succumbing to heart disease, among others.

"Apparently 'healthy' adults can take the cardiorespiratory fitness test - under medical advice and supervision annually. In 'healthy' adults, it has the power to predict the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes), and is an even stronger predictor of mortality than diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, smoking (tobacco abuse)," Sanjay Chugh, Associate Director and Senior Consultant Interventional Cardiology at Gurugram.

"It also predicts risk of developing diabetes, cancer or mental illness," he added.

In the study, a high CRF measure was found to lower the risk of death from cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer, while a low CRF indicated the risk of developing chronic conditions such as hypertension, heart failure, stroke, atrial fibrillation, dementia, and depression in the future.

The test measures maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) and how it's used during intense exercise.

Sanjay noted that in patients planned for surgery, "the test predicts the surgical risks of complications and death from surgeries and helps risk stratify, prognosticate, and guide patient management."

"Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) measurement should be routinely included in clinical practice," Sudhir Kumar, a neurologist at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, wrote in a post on X.

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