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Brisk Walking 30 Minutes a Day Reduces Mortality Risk in Hypertensive Patients with Diabetes by 62%

Posted: Sunday, May 23, 2010

In patients with hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, relatively modest improvements in fitness status significantly reduce mortality risk, according to a study.

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, according to Charles Faselis, MD, Georgetown University Medical School, Georgetown, Virginia.

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 < .001). For each 1-MET increase in exercise capacity, the mortality risk was lowered by 14% (P =4 METs), the mortality risk was 22% lower for the next fitness category (4.1-5 METs). In the highest fitness category (>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.

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

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