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Periodic Fasting May Decrease Cardiac Risk

Among patients abstaining from tobacco, periodic fasting further lowers cardiac risk

MONDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Both the proscription of tobacco products and periodic fasting may lower the risk of coronary artery disease, according to the results of a study published in the Oct. 1 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Benjamin D. Horne, Ph.D., of the Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and colleagues examined the relationship of religious preference and periodic fasting with coronary artery disease outcomes. Utilizing data from 4,629 patients enrolled in the Intermountain Heart Collaborative Study registry for 1994-2002, the authors determined the relationship between religious preference (members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [LDS] versus other) and coronary artery disease diagnosis. Utilizing data from 448 patients from the registry surveyed between 2004 and 2006, the authors examined the relationship between routine fasting and coronary artery disease.

In the religious preference group, the odds of developing coronary artery disease were 19 percent lower among LDS patients, the researchers report. In the fasting group, fasting decreased odds of coronary artery disease by 45 percent and the effect persisted after adjustment for traditional risk factors, the investigators found. Prevalence of diabetes was also lower in the fasting group, the report indicates.

"The Utah population consistently has one of the lowest rates of death from cardiovascular disease, and this low-risk status has been linked to the lifestyle of people with an LDS religious preference. The most likely source of such risk differences is the proscription of tobacco smoking because smoking is a well-described risk factor for coronary artery disease development and conveys a substantial increase in risk, but it is improbable that smoking alone could account for such a profound effect," the authors comment. "This study confirmed an additional coronary artery disease risk difference based on routine fasting behavior and was the first to evaluate the association of routine fasting with angiographically defined coronary artery disease."

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