A sedentary lifestyle is a bad travel companion in any circumstance, but even more so when the DNI marks an age greater than 60 years. In fact, among people older than 65 years, having lower physical function was independently associated with a higher risk of developing heart attack, heart failure, and strokeaccording to new research published today in the prestigious journal “Journal of the American Heart Association”, from the American Heart Association.
Specifically, among the ingredients that have been taken into account when evaluating this risk, the following stands out: tool called “SPPB”, which considers a measure of physical function, including walking speed, leg strength and balance. Thus, this study examined physical function, which is different from physical fitness. “Although the traditional risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking or diabetes, are closely related to cardiovascular disease“We also know, particularly in middle-aged people, that these factors may not be as predictive in older adults, so we need to identify non-traditional predictors for older adults.” Kunihiro MatsushitaMD, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Division of Cardiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.
“We have found that physical function in older adults predicts future cardiovascular disease beyond traditional risk factors. of heart disease, regardless of whether an individual has a history of cardiovascular disease”, highlights the researcher. Specifically, the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study, an ongoing community cohort, enrolled 15,792 participants, ages 45 to 64 between 1987 and 1989, to investigate the causes of atherosclerotic disease (plaque or accumulation of fatty in the arteries). Thus, the annual and semi-annual controls (starting in 2012) included telephone calls and clinical examinations in people. With all this information, the present study evaluated the health data through the SPPB physical function test of 5,570 adults (58% women; 78% white adults; 22% black adults), with an average age of 75 years between 2011 and 2019. Thus, using the SPPB scores, the physical function of the participants was classified into three groups: low, intermediate and high, based on their performance on the test.
The researchers examined the association of SPPB scores with future heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure, as well as the combination of all three, adjusting for major cardiovascular disease risk factors., such as high blood pressure, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and a history of cardiovascular disease. “Our findings highlight the value of assessing the level of physical function of older adults in clinical practice,” said study senior author Xiao Hu, MHS, coordinator of research data in the department of epidemiology at the School of Health. Public Johns Hopkins Bloomberg. “In addition to heart health, older adults are at increased risk of falls and disability. Physical function assessment may also inform the risk of these concerning conditions in older adults,” the researchers add. Falls and fear of falling in older adults are major health concerns and are associated with high injury rates, high health care costs, and a significant impact on quality of life.
“Our study adds additional evidence to previous research, which has shown the importance of maintaining physical function in old age», insists Matsushita, who emphasizes that «the next questions are: what is the best way for older adults to maintain physical function and whether interventions that improve physical function can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease?».
The study had several limitations, as the study population included only black and white adults, but did not include people from other racial or ethnic groups. The study also did not take into account people whose lack of mobility might prevent them from being evaluated in a research clinic. Additional research will be required to confirm the findings in people from more diverse racial and ethnic groups and people who have even less physical function.