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Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure May Impair Independent Living

7 years, 9 months ago

1155  0
Posted on Mar 31, 2011, 6 a.m.

High blood pressure (hypertension) is linked to a greater drop in average walking speeds in older adults, potentially impacting a senior's ability to remain functionally independent.

Often, older adults experience a decline in gait speed, which potentially impacts their ability to remain functionally independent. Caterina Rosano, from the University of Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues examined the role of brain, heart, and kidney function in changes in seniors' walking speeds over 14 years.  Participating seniors, average age of 76 years at the start of the study, who had high blood pressure, saw their average walking speeds decline 0.2 miles per hour more than seniors who did not have high blood pressure.  Explaining that an acceptable walking speed is important for seniors to maintain their independence, the researchers report that: “High [blood pressure] accelerates gait slowing in well-functioning older adults over a long period of time, even for those who control their [blood pressure] or develop hypertension later in life.”

Caterina Rosano, William T. Longstreth Jr, Robert Boudreau, Christopher A. Taylor, Yan Du, Lewis H. Kuller, Anne B. Newman.  “High Blood Pressure Accelerates Gait Slowing in Well-Functioning Older Adults over 18-Years of Follow-Up.”  Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Volume 59, Issue 3, March 2011, Pages: 390–397.

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