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Heart Health Cardio-Vascular Exercise Mortality

How Well Can You Climb Stairs?

8 months, 3 weeks ago

5818  0
Posted on Dec 22, 2020, 7 p.m.

Are you able to climb 4 flights of stairs in 90 seconds? The stair climb time test is an easy way to check and track your overall heart health and risk for coronary artery disease, according to the European Society of Cardiology. 

“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” says study author Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at University Hospital A Coruña. “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.”

This study evaluated 165 patients displaying symptoms of coronary artery disease who had been referred for exercise testing on their hearts; each patient had been dealing with issues such as chest pain or shortness of breath while exerting themselves. This study was conducted to examine the links between regular daily activities such as climbing stairs and lab exercises for heart patients. 

“The idea was to find a simple and inexpensive method of assessing heart health,” Dr. Peteiro adds. “This can help physicians triage patients for more extensive examinations.

During the study, each participant walked or ran on a treadmill with the intensity gradually increasing until they became too exhausted to continue while the researchers measured the results in metabolic equivalents to reveal a link to mortality rate. During this type of testing the more METs that someone who is exercising can achieve the lower their chances of premature death are. 

After resting for 15-20 minutes from the treadmill testing, participants then climbed 4 flights of stairs (60 stairs) without stopping or running. Those who took between 40-45 seconds to climb the stairs averaged between 9-10 METs during this exercise test. According to the researchers reaching 10 METs during exercise has a connection to lower mortality rates of less than 1% per year. Those who took 90 seconds to ascend the stairs averaged under 8 METs, which translates to a mortality rate of 2-4% each year, or 30% over 10 years. 

Images of each participant’s heart were also captured to assess the organ’s function under stress; if the heart looks and works normally while exercising it is thought to indicate a low risk of developing coronary artery disease. 

Among those who took 90 seconds to climb the stairs, 58% were found to have abnormal heart function during the treadmill test, and just 32% of those who could climb the stairs in 45 seconds had the same dysfunction in their hearts. 

Dr. Peteiro believes that results from stair climbing would be similar for those of the general population, not just heart disease patients, and these findings were presented at the European Society of Cardiology’s EACVI- Best Of Imaging 2020 Congress. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before making any changes to your wellness routine. 

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