Heart disease is an umbrella term for any type of disorder that affects the heart. Difficulty in taking rapid steps may indicate the risk of chronic heart illness. Older adults with walking problems are at a higher risk of developing heart diseases, shows a new study.
The study, published in the journal of the American Geriatrics Society, stated that the link between heart disease risk factors and walking difficulties was greater in people belonging to the older age group.
Aging enhances the problems of balance, muscle strength and flexibility, physical strength that could also lead to numerous limitations and disabilities.
The study, led by Emerald G. Heiland, researcher at the Karolinska University in Sweden, studied over participants aged 60 and above. The participants neither had heart disease at the start of the study nor any problems with walking speed, balance or chair standing exercises.
Researchers considered participants' physical activity levels, alcohol consumption, body mass index and the cognitive abilities that helps to think and make decisions.
In addition, the blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) were also tested. High CRP levels point to a higher risk for heart diseases, which remains a serious concern for older people.
The results showed that the more risk factors people had for heart disease, the faster their decline in walking speed.
The researchers concluded that reducing heart disease risk factors with appropriate treatments might help "younger" older adults maintain their physical function.