According to a study, a patient’s ability to do this one thing in one and a half minutes says a lot about their heart health, and if you can’t do this in 90 seconds your heart may be in danger.
Heart health becomes increasingly important to most people as we age, but heart disease can happen at any age, although the risk does increase with age. With that in mind, how does one know if they are at risk without using expensive time-consuming procedures with the oversight of medical professionals?
You just need a flight of stairs and a watch
According to research from the European Society of Cardiology, you can use stairs to test your heart health at home in about a minute and a half, all you need is some form of timer and a few flights of stairs.
This study involved 165 symptomatic patients who were prescribed exercise testing due to known/suspected coronary artery disease. Subjects rested for 15-20 minutes after a strenuous bout of exercise and then were asked to quickly climb about 60 stairs without running or taking a break. Subject times were recorded and their exercise capacity was measured as metabolic equivalents which was defined as the amount of oxygen consumed while resting.
Results revealed that those who climbed the stairs in less than 40-45 seconds achieved more than 9-10 METs, which is a rate that is linked to lower mortality. Those who took 90 seconds or longer achieved less than 8 METS, this translates to a mortality rate of 2-4% per year or 30% in a decade.
“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” study author Jesús Peteiro, MD, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña, Spain, said in a statement. “If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor.”
Based on images generated of the subject’s hearts during the exercise testing to assess cardiac function, among those who took 90 seconds or longer to climb the stair 58% had abnormal heart function while only 32% of those who did the same task in under a minute had the same issue.
Still the leading killer of Americans
In America statistics on heart health shows that heart disease is the leading killer of men and women, accounting for 1 in 4 deaths across the nation. According to the Memorial Hermann Heart & Vascular Institute for men, the risk of heart attack increases significantly after reaching the age of 45, and for women, the risk begins to increase at the age of 50.
According to the American Heart Association research, 45% of all heart attacks are silent, which means that they can occur without symptoms. To reach this conclusion the records for over two decades of 9,498 middle-aged adults with atherosclerosis were analyzed. Findings revealed that silent heart attacks accounted for nearly half of the recorded incidents, and they made patients 3 times more likely to die from heart disease.
“The outcome of a silent heart attack is as bad as a heart attack that is recognized while it is happening,” the study’s senior author Elsayed Z. Soliman, MD, then-director of the epidemiological cardiology research center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, said in a statement. “And because patients don’t know they have had a silent heart attack, they may not receive the treatment they need to prevent another one.“
“Women with a silent heart attack appear to fare worse than men,” Soliman said. “Our study also suggests that Blacks may fare worse than whites, but the number of Blacks may have been too small to say that with certainty.”