Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A simple way for older adults to assess arterial stiffness: reach for the toes

How far you can reach beyond your toes from a sitting position normally used to define the flexibility of a person's body may be an indicator of how stiff your arteries are. A study in the American Journal of Physiology has found that, among people 40 years old and older, performance on the sit-and-reach test could be used to assess the flexibility of the arteries. Because arterial stiffness often precedes cardiovascular disease, the results suggest that this simple test could become a quick measure of an individual's risk for early mortality from heart attack or stroke. "Our findings have potentially important clinical implications because trunk flexibility can be easily evaluated," said one of the authors, Kenta Yamamoto. "This simple test might help to prevent age-related arterial stiffening."

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