Physical activity and heart attack risk in Australian adults with no cardiovascular risk factors

The presence of standard modifiable cardiovascular risk factors (SMuRFs; hypertension, diabetes, smoking, hypercholesterolaemia) increases the risk of cardiovascular events; however, recent data suggests that 1 in 4 myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) in Australia occur without these risk factors (i.e. SMuRF-less). Physical activity is protective against cardiovascular events across both low- and high-risk groups; yet this relationship has never been examined for SMuRF-less individuals.

The aim of this study is to leverage the baseline, 5- and 10-year follow-up data from >200,000 individuals in the 45&Up study to determine whether physical activity level is similarly protective against cardiovascular events for individuals without SMuRFs. If so, the outcome of this study may identify physical activity as a novel, and modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular morbidity in persons without “standard” cardiovascular risk factors. This study will thus improve our current methods of cardiovascular risk-stratification, and build impetus for future funding opportunities for SMuRF-less individuals.

Dr Matthew Hollings (SOLVE-CHD Research Fellow) was able to secure funding for this project through the Heart Foundation’s 2022 45 & Up Grant.

The Team:

  • Dr Matthew Hollings, University of Sydney
  • Prof Gemma Figtree, University of Sydney
  • Dr Karice Hyun, University of Sydney