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Lower Extremity Weakness Linked to Later Mobility Loss

Early signs of future problems seen in patients with and without peripheral arterial disease

MONDAY, Aug. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Weak lower extremity performance predicts later loss of mobility among patients with and without peripheral arterial disease, according to a report in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of American College of Cardiology.

Mary M. McDermott, M.D., of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, and colleagues followed 398 individuals with peripheral arterial disease and 240 without (average age 71.7), none of whom had impaired mobility. Mobility was assessed at baseline using chair raises, standing balance, six-minute walk and short physical performance battery, and then annually by ability to walk up and down a flight of stairs without assistance or to walk a quarter of a mile. The median follow-up period was 50 months.

Those with peripheral arterial disease had a greater rate of mobility loss at follow-up than those without the condition, but this difference was attributed to their relatively poor performance on mobility measures at baseline. Poor baseline performance on lower-extremity measures was linked to significantly greater risk of mobility loss at follow-up, whether or not subjects had peripheral arterial disease.

"Simple, objective measures of functional performance, which can be readily performed in the office setting, can be used to identify peripheral arterial disease persons at highest risk for mobility loss," the authors conclude.

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