Abstract P383: Walking Speed is a Significant Indicator of Vascular Health in Late Midlife Women: The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation
Objective: Wider adventitial diameter (AD) is correlated with adverse cardiovascular risk factors and a higher risk of CVD. A dilated artery cannot adapt as well to adverse conditions, which may make it more vulnerable to damage. Slower walking speed, a physical functioning (PF) performance measure, is associated with subclinical measures of atherosclerosis and increased mortality in the elderly. The relationship between PF performance measures and AD, an informative measure of vascular health, has not been evaluated. We assessed whether walking speed and time needed for sit-to stand assessment are associated with carotid AD in a large sample of multi-ethnic, late midlife women. The associations with carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and presence of carotid plaque were also evaluated.
Design: Participants from the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation who were free of CVD and had carotid AD, IMT or presence of carotid plaque assessed at the 12th annual visit were evaluated. Average 40-foot walking speed (calculated as 12.192 meters/time in seconds) (2 repetitions) and average time in seconds needed for sit-to-stand assessment (5 repetitions) were measured at the same time. Linear and logistic regression models were used as appropriate.
Results: A total of 1224 women (96.9% Postmenopausal; 52.0% Caucasian, 27.9% African American, 14.3% Chinese, 5.8% Hispanic) from 6 sites across the USA, aged 59.6±2.7 years old at visit 12, were included. In models adjusted for site, race, current age, menopausal status and systolic blood pressure, slower walking speed and longer time needed for sit-to-stand (log-transformed) were significantly associated with a wider AD (β(SE):0.43(0.08) mm, P<0.0001; 0.20(0.05) mm, P=0.0002, respectively), a thicker IMT (β(SE):0.05(0.01) mm, P=0.001; β(SE):0.03(0.01) mm, P=0.008, respectively) and a higher probability of presence of carotid plaque (OR (95% confidence interval [CI]) :1.82(1.09,3.04), only with walking speed). Associations between PF performance measures and IMT as well as the association between walking speed and presence of carotid plaque became non-significant after further adjustment for current body mass index. Associations between slower walking speed and wider AD (β(SE):0.18(0.08) mm, P=0.03 ) remained significant even after additional adjustment for current body mass index, lipids, insulin resistance (HOMA index), smoking, ever use of antihypertensive/lipid lowering/heart medications, ever use of hormone therapy and ever reported presence of diabetes.
Conclusions: Simple objective PF performance measures such as 40-foot walking speed could be a useful tool to assess vascular health. Women with slower walking speed may be at a greater risk of vascular-related diseases.
- © 2013 by American Heart Association, Inc.