Association Between Physical Activity and Peripheral Artery Disease and Carotid Artery Stenosis in a Self-Referred Population of 3 Million Adults
Objective—Although the relationship between physical activity and coronary heart disease is well characterized, a paucity of data exists on physical activity and vascular disease in other arterial territories. This study examined the prevalence of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and carotid artery stenosis (CAS) in association with physical activity.
Approach and Results—The association between physical activity and vascular disease was examined in >3 million self-referred US participants in the United States from 2003 to 2008 who completed a medical and lifestyle questionnaire in the Life Line screening program. All subjects were evaluated by screening ankle brachial indices <0.90 for PAD and ultrasound imaging for CAS >50%. Multivariable logistic regression modeling was used to estimate odds of disease. Among 3 250 350 subjects, 63% of the population engaged in some leisure time vigorous physical activity. After adjustment for age, sex, race/ethnicity, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, smoking status, diabetes mellitus, body mass index, and family history of cardiovascular disease, subjects who reported any physical activity had a significantly lower odds of PAD (odds ratio, 0.64; 95% confidence interval, 0.63–0.65) and CAS (odds ratio, 0.80; 95% confidence interval, 0.79–0.81). The association between physical activity with PAD and CAS was robust when stratified by sex, race, and age categories. Physical activity intensity frequency was associated with lower PAD and CAS in a graded manner (P trend <0.0001 for both). Findings seemed unaffected by confounding by comorbidity or indication.
Conclusions—In a large population-based study, higher levels of physical activity were independently associated with lower odds of vascular disease in the lower extremities and carotid arteries.
- Received June 12, 2014.
- Accepted October 20, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.