(HealthDay News) – Among older adults, physical activity may protect against heart failure, as indicated by lower levels of N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) and cardiac troponin T (cTnT), according to a study published online Nov. 14 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Christopher R. deFilippi, MD, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, and colleagues measured levels of NT-proBNP and cTnT at baseline and after two to three years in 2,933 community-dwelling adults aged ≥65 who were free of heart failure. The authors sought to assess the association between physical activity and changes in levels of these markers and the subsequent risk of heart failure.

The researchers identified an inverse correlation between biomarker concentration at baseline and follow-up visits and physical activity score. After adjustment for comorbidities and baseline levels, participants with the highest score were 50% less likely to have an increase in NT-proBNP and 70% less likely to have an increase in cTNT levels compared to those with the lowest physical activity scores. Overall, an increase in either biomarker indicated a higher risk of heart failure, and higher physical activity scores were associated with a lower long-term incidence of heart failure.

“Our findings raise the possibility that the trajectory of biomarker change and the subsequent heart failure risk associated with increasing levels may be modifiable by changes in lifestyle even at an advanced age,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to Roche Diagnostics and Abbott.

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