There are around 7.6 million people living with a heart or circulatory disease in the UK, according to the British Heart Foundation. A study has suggested that an assessment of your ability to walk up stairs could indicate whether you are at risk of the condition.
With the decline of smoking and widespread use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, changes in public health have significantly helped curb rates of heart disease. Nonetheless, it still directly impacts many people.
According to the World Health Organisation, heart disease remains the leading cause of death worldwide.
Coronary heart disease is the term that describes what happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked or interrupted by a build-up of fatty substances in the coronary arteries.
Over time, the walls of your arteries can become furred up with fatty deposits, according to the NHS.
Researchers have now suggested that the disease could be detected through a stairs test.
If you can walk up four flights of steps without trouble, this indicates you are not at risk, a study says.
University Hospital A Coruna in Spain carried out the research.
The researchers suggest that those that can do this stairs test in less than a minute have better heart function.
“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health,” said Dr. Jesús Peteiro, a cardiologist at the University and lead author.
“If it takes you more than one and a half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor,” he added.
The 165 study participants each walked or ran on a treadmill until exhaustion with their exercise capacity measured as metabolic equivalents (METs).
After a rest period, the study group climbed four flights of stairs, which was 60 steps, at a fast but non-running pace, then had their METs measured again.
Nearly one in three study participants who climbed the stairs quickly still demonstrated abnormal heart function, a possible marker for coronary heart disease.
Therefore, the test should not be viewed as a substitute for fuller evaluations from a doctor.
If your arteries become completely blocked, it can cause a heart attack.
A heart attack can happen at any time, including when you are resting. If heart pain lasts longer than 15 minutes, it may be the start of a heart attack, according to the NHS.
You might not be diagnosed with coronary artery disease until you have a heart attack, angina, stroke or heart failure, according to the Mayo Clinic.
“It’s important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms and discuss concerns with your doctor. Cardiovascular disease can sometimes be found early with regular evaluations,” the site adds.
Always seek emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.
If you have concerns about developing heart disease, you can speak to a doctor about actions to reduce your risk.