Climbing stairs boosts vascular function in patient with hypertension

14 Oct 2021
Climbing stairs boosts vascular function in patient with hypertension
Walking or taking the stairs are both effective to burn excess calories

Climbing stairs is a simple method of assessing physical activity in patients with hypertension and may lead to improved vascular function, a recent study has found.

Researchers conducted a cross-sectional study of 374 hypertensive patients (mean age 67±12 years, 62.6 percent men) who were divided into three groups according to their stair-climbing activity: no stairs (n=78), climbing to the 2nd floor (n=107), and climbing to the ≥3rd floor (n=189). Vascular function was assessed using flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) and nitroglycerine-induced vasodilation (NID).

FMD was significantly higher in participants who climbed stairs to the ≥3rd floor than in comparators who reached only the 2nd floor and who reported no stair-climbing activity (3.3±2.5 percent vs 2.4±2.7 percent and 2.3±2.7 percent, respectively; p=0.02 for both comparisons).

In comparison, NID was significantly higher in both the 2nd- and ≥3rd-floor groups as opposed to the no-stairs comparators (10.9±5.3 percent vs 11.3±5.1 percent vs 7.4±4.2 percent, respectively; p<0.001 for both comparisons). The difference between patients who climbed to the 2nd vs ≥3rd floors was not statistically significant (p=0.86).

Multivariate analysis further showed that patients who climbed to the ≥3rd floor were significantly less likely to belong to the lowest tertile of FMD values (odds ratio [OR], 0.44, 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.23–0.75; p=0.01). No such effect was reported for the 2nd-floor group (p=0.86).

On the other hand, both the 2nd-floor (OR, 0.28, 95 percent CI, 0.13–0.57; p<0.001) and ≥3rd-floor (OR, 0.42, 95 percent CI, 0.21–0.81; p=0.01) climbers saw significant protection from having the lowest tertile of NID vs the reference group.

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