THURSDAY, Nov. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Skeletal muscle mass (SMM) is inversely associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) among middle-aged and older adults, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.

Stefanos Tyrovolas, Ph.D., of the Sant Joan de Déu Research Foundation in Barcelona, Spain, and colleagues examined the correlation between SMM and 10-year CVD incidence among 3,042 adults aged 45 years and older without preexisting CVD. Fatal/nonfatal CVD incidence was examined in 2,020 participants at 10-year study follow-up. The working sample included 1,019 participants. SMM was reflected in a skeletal muscle mass index (SMI), created using appendicular SMM standardized by body mass index.

The researchers found the lowest 10-year incidence of CVD in the highest baseline SMI tertile compared with the lowest and middle baseline tertiles. A significant inverse association was seen for baseline SMI with 10-year CVD incidence (hazard ratio, 0.06) even after adjustment for confounders. In an applied analysis of the regression model assessing the 10-year CVD risk by baseline SMI tertiles, participants in the highest versus the lowest tertile had an 81 percent lower risk for developing a CVD event.

“The importance of SMM preservation to prevent long-term CVD risk among the middle aged/older population has been highlighted,” the authors write. “The prevention of SMM decline, which is becoming increasingly prevalent among middle aged and older populations, may constitute an effective means of promoting CVD health.”

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