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Research Reveals Muscle Mass as Heart Disease Predictor in Middle-Aged Men

By: MerxWire

Aging can cause sarcopenia and raise heart disease risk with muscle loss. Barcelona’s Institute of Mental Health found low muscle mass in middle-aged men is linked to increased cardiovascular disease risk in the ATTICA Study.

Middle-aged men with higher muscle mass face a lower cardiovascular disease risk. (Photo via

New York, NY (Merxwire) – As individuals age, people may develop a condition known as “sarcopenia.” Simultaneously, the loss of muscle mass is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease. A study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Mental Health and Biological Research in Barcelona, Spain, analyzed data from the “ATTICA Study” and revealed that inadequate skeletal muscle mass in middle-aged men is correlated with an increased likelihood of cardiovascular disease. The research was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Muscle mass & cardiovascular disease

The researchers analyzed the database of 1,019 subjects over 45, and none of these subjects had cardiovascular disease when they joined the study from 2001 to 2002. They reported on their activity level, diet, smoking habits and provided measurements of skeletal muscle mass and related tests for cardiovascular disease risks such as blood pressure, blood sugar, weight, and inflammation indicators.

After ten years, the researchers found that about 27% of the subjects had cardiovascular disease, and compared with the people with the lowest skeletal muscle mass, the people with the highest skeletal muscle mass had an 81% lower risk of cardiovascular disease. At the beginning of the study, people with more muscles had a lower risk of heart disease after ten years. However, the study did not include changes in time, so it is impossible to assess how changes in muscle mass affect cardiovascular disease risk.

On the other hand, although there is a significant correlation between muscle mass and heart disease, the analysis of the study pointed out that there is no correlation between the amount of muscle mass in women and whether they suffer from heart disease ten years later. It may be that the risk of heart disease is relatively low in women.

Resistance training is one of the exercises to increase muscles. (Photo via

Muscle mass will decrease with age

People’s understanding of the elderly includes “frequently falling,” “easy to fracture,” and “inconvenient movement.” Most people think these are symptoms of osteoporosis. It must be a calcium loss, so the elderly’s movements become slow. In fact, “Sarcopenia” is also a major cause of slow action. When muscles are reduced, the elderly will lack muscle endurance and support, become prone to falls, and increase the risk of disability.

According to statistics, after the age of 30, the human body will lose about 0.5% to 1% of muscle mass every year; after the age of 40, it will lose about 8% of muscle mass every 10 years; after the age of 70, it will lose about 15% of muscle mass every 10 years.

Low muscle mass, low muscle strength, and low physical performance are related symptoms of Sarcopenia. Modern people have unbalanced nutrition, lack of exercise, and sedentary sitting, which may lead to “sarcopenic obesity.” This is a disease in which muscle deficiency and obesity exist simultaneously. Even if the appearance does not look fat, but with too little muscle and too much body fat, it is easy to lose balance when exerting force, and it puts a lot of pressure on joints, making it more challenging to walk and climb stairs.

How to stay away from Sarcopenia? Maintain balanced nutrition and exercise! The key is to supplement high-quality protein, such as milk, eggs, lean meat, and soy products in terms of diet. In terms of exercise, you can’t just walk, and you must do resistance training with sufficient intensity, such as elastic band exercises, Lifting dumbbells, or walking in the swimming pool. These are all good training methods! Increase muscle mass, stay away from Sarcopenia, and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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