The Daily Heart Beat

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Walking Speed Predicts Mortality in Seniors

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Slow-walking seniors were more likely to die than their speedier counterparts, particularly from cardiovascular causes, researchers found.

The slowest walkers among those over 65 were 44% more likely to die of any cause over a five-year period than faster walkers, Alexis Elbaz, MD, PhD, of the University Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris, and colleagues reported online in BMJ.

This link appeared to be driven by threefold higher risk of cardiovascular mortality in the slowest third of participants in the prospective cohort study.

Walking speed is determined by age, sex, height, and physical fitness — but also by disease, including vascular disorders. Thus, the link between low walking speed and cardiovascular mortality could be via chronic exposure to vascular risk factors, the researchers wrote. But in older people, walking speed may also be simply a surrogate for motor function and habitual activity, according to an accompanying editorial by Rowan H. Harwood, MSc, MD, of Nottingham University Hospitals in Nottingham, and Simon P. Conroy, MBChB, of the University of Leicester, England.

MedPage today; November 11, 2009

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Written by heartcurrents

March 3, 2010 at 5:51 am

Posted in heart conditions

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