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Modest Improvements in Fitness Reduces Mortality Risk in Diabetic Hypertensive Patients

May 13, 2010

In patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, relatively modest improvements in fitness status — significantly with walking just 30 minutes a day — reduces mortality risk, according to a new study….

According to Charles Faselis, MD, Georgetown University Medical School, VA, while it is known that physical activity is an integral part of both prevention and management of hypertension and diabetes, the effects of physical activity on mortality risk among hypertensive patients with diabetes have not been thoroughly investigated.

Dr. Faselis and colleagues assessed the exercise capacity of 2,163 male veterans (mean age 61 years) with hypertension and diabetes, estimating peak workload with a stress test (Bruce protocol) and establishing fitness categories based on peak metabolic equivalents (METs) achieved.

Subjects with an exercise capacity within the lowest 20% (>=4 METs) comprised the lowest fitness category and those with >9 METs comprised the highest fitness category. Additional fitness categories were established in between for each 1-MET increase between 4.1-9.0 METs.

In their analysis, investigators controlled for age, risk factors, and medications. Within a follow-up period of 22 years, there were 617 deaths.

Over that time, there was an inverse and graded association between mortality risk and exercise capacity (P 9 METs), the mortality risk reduction reached 62%.

“Our findings support an independent and graded association between fitness levels and mortality risk in individuals with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Faselis, noting that significant health benefits were conferred by relatively modest levels of exercise, such as by brisk, daily walks of about 30 minutes duration.

Presented May 2, 2010 at the American Society of Hypertension (ASH) 25th Annual Scientific Meeting and Exposition, [Exercise Capacity Lowers Mortality Risk in Hypertensive Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Abstract PO-274]