Home Medizin Männer mit größeren Bauchmuskeln haben ein höheres Risiko für Herzprobleme, wie eine Studie zeigt

Männer mit größeren Bauchmuskeln haben ein höheres Risiko für Herzprobleme, wie eine Studie zeigt

von NFI Redaktion

The human body’s composition – often expressed as the amount of fat compared to muscle mass – is one of the standard predictors of heart health. New research from the University of California San Diego suggests that having more muscle does not automatically mean a lower risk of heart problems.

Published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, the study found that not all muscles are the same. According to Britta Larsen, PhD, men with a larger area of abdominal muscles have a higher risk of heart problems, while men with greater muscle density have a lower risk. The denser the muscle, the better: men with the densest muscle in the abdominal cavity had about a quarter of the risk of developing coronary heart disease later.

And what’s even more important is that we didn’t find this in women. It was only in men.


Britta Larsen, PhD, lead author and associate professor, UC San Diego Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science

The data came from computed tomography scans of participants in the National Institutes of Health Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). At the time of the study, the participants were in their mid-60s and the study aimed to understand arterial thickening, which began in 2000. The participants were recruited from various locations in the United States and had follow-up visits for 20 years. Larsen noted that her group tracked the medical records of the participants for twelve years.

The researchers found that the group with large muscles had up to six times higher risk of heart disease compared to the group of men with the smallest abdominal muscle area. Larsen said the team was surprised by the correlation of a larger muscle area with a higher coronary heart disease risk.

„Muscles have been overlooked in the health sector for a long time,“ said Larsen. „Researchers have only focused on fat. But muscles are a major, active metabolic tissue and are finally getting a little more attention.“

Larsen explained that the difference between muscle area and muscle density comes down to quantity and quality. The computed tomography scans provide a two-dimensional image. The muscle area, she said, was simply determined by the number of pixels in the image.

„The density is a bit trickier. It’s sort of our surrogate measure for muscular quality,“ Larsen said. „It’s really a measure of how much fat has infiltrated into the muscle cavity. How much in the muscle itself is pure muscle? And how much is fat content?“

The study also found no correlation between muscles and stroke, for both men and women. The researchers differentiated between coronary heart disease and cardiovascular diseases, which include strokes, a blockage in an artery outside the heart.

„That tells me that muscle density is not just some sort of indicator of overall health, frailty, or aging,“ she said. „Otherwise, we would also see it in strokes and other consequences.“

Larsen said the work raises many further questions and possible avenues for future research. For example, why are women apparently exempt from the connection between muscles and coronary arteries?

Larsen said a larger question concerns the biological mechanisms that govern the muscle-coronary connection in men. Genetic causes could play a role, but she said her suspicion is directed towards nutrition and physical activity.

Co-authors of the article from the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Human Longevity Science at UC San Diego include John Bellettiere, Rowena M. Tam, and Rita Ryu. Additional co-authors from UC San Diego are Matthew Allison, Michael Criqui, and Jonathan Unkart, all from the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at UC San Diego; Robyn L. McClelland, Department of Biostatistics, University of Washington; Iva Miljkovic, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh; Chantal Vella, Department of Exercise Science, University of Idaho; and Pamela Ouyang, Department of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

The MESA study was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (contracts N01-HC-95159, N01-HC-95160, N01-HC-95161, N01-HC-95162, N01-HC-95163, N01-HC- 95164, N01-HC-95165, N01-HC-95166, N01-HC-95167, N01-HC-95168 and N01-HC-95169, grant UL1-TR-000040 and UL1-TR-001079). The MESA Body Composition, Inflammation, and Cardiovascular Disease Ancillary Study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant R01-HL-088451).

Source:

University of California – San Diego

Journal reference:

Larsen, B., et al. (2024). Associations of Abdominal Muscle Density and Area with Incidence of Cardiovascular Disease, Coronary Heart Disease and Stroke: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Journal of the American Heart Association. doi.org/10.1161/jaha.123.032014.

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