Sedentary Lifestyle Tied to Pulmonary Embolism Risk

More than two-fold increased risk in most sedentary women compared to least sedentary

WEDNESDAY, July 6 (HealthDay News) -- A sedentary lifestyle is associated with an increased risk of incident pulmonary embolism in women, according to a study published online July 4 in BMJ.

Christopher Kabrhel, M.D., M.P.H., from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and colleagues investigated the association between sedentary lifestyle and incident idiopathic pulmonary embolism in 69,950 nurses who completed biennial questionnaires from 1990 to 2008. Participants were assessed for physical inactivity measured by number of sitting hours each day and amount of physical activity measured by metabolic equivalents each day. Participants were followed up for 18 years. Idiopathic pulmonary embolism confirmed by medical records after multiple variable adjustments was the main outcome measured.

The investigators identified 268 cases of idiopathic pulmonary embolism. Time of inactivity was associated with the risk of idiopathic pulmonary embolism, with the highest risk seen for the most inactive participants compared to the least inactive participants (41 cases/104,720 person-years versus 16 cases/14,565 person-years, respectively). In women who spent most of their time sitting, the risk of pulmonary embolism was more than two-fold that of women who spent the least amount of time sitting (multivariable hazard ratio, 2.34). No associations were found between physical activity and pulmonary embolism.

"Physical inactivity is associated with incident pulmonary embolism in women. Interventions that decrease time sitting could lower the risk of pulmonary embolism," the authors write.

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