Whoa! Can your treadmill really predict your year of death?

  • ANI, Washington
  • Updated: Mar 03, 2015 17:29 IST

A new study has shed light on treadmill performance and has indicated that the performance on a treadmill helps in predicting mortality.

The study conducted by Johns Hopkins Medicine suggested that they have developed a formula that estimates one's risk of dying over a decade based on a person's ability to exercise on a treadmill at an increasing speed and incline.

The new algorithm, dubbed the FIT Treadmill Score can gauge long-term death risk in anyone based solely on treadmill exercise performance. The score, the research team says, could yield valuable clues about a person's health and should be calculated for the millions of patients who undergo cardiac stress testing in the United States each year.

Lead investigator Haitham Ahmed, M.D. M.P.H., a cardiology fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said that the notion that being in good physical shape portends lower death risk is by no means new, but they wanted to quantify that risk precisely by age, gender and fitness level, and do so with an elegantly simple equation that requires no additional fancy testing beyond the standard stress test.

Senior study author Michael Blaha, M.D., M.P.H., director of clinical research at the Johns Hopkins Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease, said that the FIT Treadmill Score was easy to calculate and costs nothing beyond the cost of the treadmill test itself and they that hope the score will become a mainstay in cardiologists and primary clinicians' offices as a meaningful way to illustrate risk among those who undergo cardiac stress testing and propel people with poor results to become more physically active.

For the study, the team analysed information on 58,020 people, ages 18 to 96, from Detroit, Michigan, who underwent standard exercise stress tests between 1991 and 2009 for evaluation of chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting or dizziness. The researchers then tracked how many of the participants within each fitness level died from any cause over the next decade. The results reveal that among people of the same age and gender, fitness level as measured by METs and peak heart rate reached during exercise were the greatest indicators of death risk.

Scores ranged from negative 200 to positive 200, with those above 0 having lower mortality risk and those in the negative range facing highest risk of dying. Patients who scored 100 or higher had a 2% risk of dying over the next 10 years, while those with scores between 0 and 100 faced a 3% death risk over the next decade. In other words, two of 100 people of the same age and gender with a score of 100 or higher would die over the next decade, compared with three out of 100 for those with a fitness score between 0 and 100. People with scores between negative 100 and 0 had an 11% risk of dying in the next 10 years, while those with scores lower than negative 100 had a 38% risk of dying.

The study is published in issue of the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

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