Being fit may slow lung function decline as we age

May 16, 2016

ATS 2016, SAN FRANCISCO - Being fit may reduce the decline in lung function that occurs as we grow older, according to research presented at the ATS 2016 International Conference.

"While everyone's lung function declines with age, the actual trajectory of this decline varies among individuals, " said Lillian Benck, MD, a medical resident at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, and study lead investigator. "What is less known is, beyond smoking, what factors affect this rate of decline."

Dr. Benck added that even though the majority of people will not develop lung disease in their lifetime, "declining lung function is known to increase overall morbidity and mortality even in the absence of overt pulmonary disease."

Dr. Benck and her colleagues analyzed data from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's CARDIA (Coronary Risk Development in Young Adults Study), which began in 1985-86 with 5,115 healthy black and white men and women, aged 18-30. The study has measured participant's cardiopulmonary fitness periodically over 20 years using a graded treadmill test. At the beginning of the study and at each follow-up assessment, pulmonary function (PF) was also assessed by measuring forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and forced vital capacity (FVC).

After adjusting for age, smoking, body mass index and change in BMI, the association between fitness and lung function remained statistically significant.

Researchers found that participants: Dr. Benck said that the last finding is noteworthy because it indicates that fitness matters, not just at a single point in time but over many years. "Fitness early in life and at middle age appears to attenuate this natural decline," she said, noting that the benefit of fitness was even seen among smokers.

Because it is an observational study, researchers cannot claim cause and effect. However, they noted several important strengths, including a large study population and long-term follow-up and objective measurements of fitness and lung health.

Dr. Benck said that CARDIA will continue to follow participants and may eventually provide insights into whether fitness not only preserves lung function, but also reduces the risk of developing lung disease.
Session B93: Thinking about Lung Health and Defining Early COPD
Monday, May 16, 2016, 3:45-4 p.m.
Location: Room 130-132 (North Building, Lower Level), MOSCONE CENTER

Abstract 10510

Sustained or Relative Increases in Cardiopulmonary Fitness Are Associated with Preserved Lung Health from Young Adulthood to Middle Age
L. Benck1, M. Cuttica1, L. Colangelo1, S. Sidney2, M.T. Dransfield3, C. Lewis4, D.R. Jacobs, Jr.5, N. Zhu6, D. Mannino7, M. Carnethon1, K. Liu1, R.Kalhan1
1Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine - Chicago, IL/US, 2Kaiser Permanente - Oakland, CA/US, 3University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham, AL/US, 4University of Alabama at Birmingham - Birmingham/US, 5University of Minnesota - Minneapolis, MN/US, 6DEPT OF INTERNAL MED MILLS - Bronx, NY/US, 7University of Kentucky - Lexington, KY/US

Rationale: Beyond smoking there are limited data on factors associated with changes in lung health. We evaluated whether cardiopulmonary fitness is associated with preservation of lung health over time in a cohort of healthy young adults. We hypothesized that both maintaining and improving to a relatively high-level of fitness is associated with less loss of lung health compared to maintaining or worsening to a low-level of fitness independent of obesity and smoking.

Methods: The CARDIA study was initiated in 1985 among healthy 18 to 30 year old black and white individuals. Cardiopulmonary fitness was measured by symptom-limited, graded treadmill test at years 0 and 20. Cardiopulmonary fitness was divided into race-sex specific quartiles by baseline fitness (N=3330) and longitudinal fitness change (N=2733). Sustained higher fitness was defined as being above the race-sex specific median at years 0 and 20, sustained lower fitness as below the median at years 0 and 20, relatively increased fitness as below the median at year 0, above at year 20, relatively decreased fitness as above the median at year 0, below at year 20. Multivariable linear regression was used to determine year 20 FVC and FEV1 and decline in FVC and FEV1 from peak to year 20 across baseline fitness quartiles and longitudinal fitness change groups adjusting for age, race-sex group, smoking, BMI, and BMI change.

Results: Participants in the highest quartile of baseline fitness had significantly less decline in FVC compared to individuals in the first (535 mL vs 574 mL; p=0.02) and second (535 mL vs. 562 mL; p=0.04) quartiles. Participants with sustained higher fitness had significantly less decline in lung function than those with sustained lower fitness (FEV1: 539 mL vs. 626 mL; p<0.001; FVC: 477 mL vs. 580 mL;p<0.001) and relatively decreased fitness (FEV1: 539 mL vs. 654 mL; p<0.001; FVC: 477 mL vs. 615 mL; p<0.001). Participants with relatively increased fitness had significantly less decline in lung function compared to sustained lower fitness (FEV1: 533 mL vs. 626 ml; p<0.001 and FVC: 473 mL vs. 580 mL; p<0.001), and relatively decreased fitness (FEV1: 533 mL vs. 654 mL; p<0.001; FVC: 473 mL vs 615 mL; p<0.001).

Conclusion: Greater cardiopulmonary fitness in young adulthood and achieving relatively increased level of fitness from young adulthood to middle age are associated with less decline in pulmonary function over time, suggesting an association with preservation of lung health independent of BMI and smoking.

American Thoracic Society

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to