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Science: For adults younger than 78, risk for heart disease linked to risk for problems walking

Science: For adults younger than 78, risk for heart disease linked to risk for problems walking

Swedish scientists revealed one interesting fact regarding the health of adults. The researchers from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm say that the problems with balance and walking speed, which become more common as we age, can lead to disability, the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reported.

A team of researchers from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm said that their recent study showed the link between the walking speed and muscle strength and the risk for heart disease.  For older adults (younger than 78), having a slower walking speed can help predict chronic illness, hospitalization, and even death.

During the study, the researchers examined the factors that put older adults at higher risk of developing physical limitations as they age younger than 78. Swedish National Study on Aging and Care-Kungsholmen (SNAC-K) supplied the researchers needed information, which allowed to draw an interesting conclusion.

Key factors about physical activity level of aged people that can lead to the heart diseases

The Swedish researchers enrolled participants from 2001 to 2004. Follow-up information was taken every six years for younger participants (60-year-olds, 66-year-olds, and 72-year-olds). Information was taken every three years for participants aged 78 and older. Among the main factors, the scientists considered participants’ physical activity levels, alcohol consumption, body mass index, and the cognitive function.

It is worth to note that an ability to think and make decisions did not play a role in the link between risk factors for heart disease and walking limitations, only physical factors were important.

The research team learned four key facts:

  • The more risk factors people had for heart disease, the faster their decline in walking speed.
  • The link between heart disease risk factors and walking difficulties was only present in people under the age of 78.
  • Heart disease risk factors were not linked to balance problems or the ability to do the chair stand exercise.
  • Heart disease risk factors such as smoking, living with diabetes, obesity, or being physically inactive were linked to having a slower walking speed.