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Pulse pressure is associated with decline in physical function in older adults.

Maturitas 2024 April 24
OBJECTIVES: This study examined the associations between pulse pressure, hypertension, and the decline in physical function in a prospective framework.

STUDY DESIGN: The Healthy Aging Longitudinal Study tracked a group of Taiwanese adults aged 55 or more over an average of 6.19 years to assess pulse pressure and decline in physical function, including in handgrip strength, gait speed, and 6-min walking distance, at baseline (2009-2013) and in the second phase of assessments (2013-2020).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Pulse pressure was calculated as the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure values. Weakness, slowness, and low endurance were defined as decreases of ≥0.23 m/s (one standard deviation) in gait speed, ≥5.08 kg in handgrip strength, and ≥ 57.73 m in a 6-min walk, as determined from baseline to the second phase of assessment. Linear and logistic regressions were employed to evaluate the associations between pulse pressure, hypertension, and decline in physical function.

RESULTS: Baseline pulse pressure was associated with future handgrip strength (beta = -0.017, p = 0.0362), gait speed (beta = -0.001, p < 0.0001), and 6-min walking distance (beta = -0.470, p < 0001). In multivariable models, only handgrip strength (beta = -0.016, p = 0.0135) and walking speed (beta = -0.001, p = 0.0042) remained significantly associated with future pulse pressure. Older adults with high systolic blood pressure (≥140 mmHg) and elevated pulse pressure (≥60 mmHg) exhibited a significantly increased risk of weakness (odds ratio: 1.30, 95 % confidence interval: 1.08-1.58), slowness (1.29, 1.04-1.59), and diminished endurance (1.25, 1.04-1.50) compared with the reference group, who exhibited systolic blood pressure of <140 mmHg and pulse pressure of <60 mmHg.

CONCLUSIONS: Among older adults, pulse pressure is associated with a decline in physical function, especially in terms of strength and locomotion.

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