Can you stand on one leg for ten seconds? This simple balance test can serve as a ten-year risk indicator for people over the age of 50 and should be included in routine tests for the elderly.
The findings come from a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine this Tuesday (21) which included four researchers from Brazil and others from Finland, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
The study analyzed 1,702 people aged 51 to 75 between February 2009 and December 2020. They take part in a comprehensive study (Clinimex Exercise), which was conducted in 1994 to examine the relationship between various physical fitness measures with poor health and death.
The results show that not standing on one leg for ten seconds, starting at age 50, has a 3.8 times higher absolute risk of death (17.5% in the group who did not complete the test and 4.6% in the group). I am who they are. When all medical variables, such as sex and body mass index, are adjusted, the risk is almost doubled (1.84).
“It’s a much higher risk than being diagnosed with coronary heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure or dyslipidemic. [de ficar em uma perna só]”The main author of the study is Physiotherapist Claudio Gulls, director of research and education at Clinimax (Exercise Medicine Clinic).
Araujo says that in his medical experiment, which saw more than 4,000 patients, the oldest person to complete a balance test was 91 years old. On the other hand, the youngest who failed to complete it was 38 years old.
“Other components of balance and physical fitness, such as aerobics or non-aerobics, need training, especially when we start to lose weight, in the sixth decade of life.”
The study is observational and thus, cannot establish the cause and effect relationship. Another limitation is that information about factors that can affect balance, such as recent fall history, physical activity levels, diet, smoking, and drug use have not been reviewed at work.
According to Araújo, one hypothesis that would explain the increased risk of death is that people with balance problems are more prone to fall. Fall fractures are responsible for about 70% of accidental deaths in people over the age of 75.
There are more than 600,000 femoral fractures each year in Brazil, 90% of which are the result of a fall. The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrated World Fall Prevention Day next Friday, June 24.
According to orthopedist Jorge dos Santos Silva, president of the SBO (Sociedad Brasileira de Ortopedia), the epidemic of COD-19 played a significant role in weakening all aspects of it, especially the elderly over 80 years of age. Is. “Weak seniors are more likely to fall and fracture.”
Ophthalmologist Maisa Kirla, coordinator of the Geriatrics and Gerontology Care Transition Outpatient Clinic at UNICEF (Federal University of Sao Paulo), says the clinic is full of frail seniors and is an easy tool, as the study suggests balance. Test , Can be very important for health professionals.
“Especially in many places where there is no time to better assess muscle strength and balance. Or unless it can be done through telemedicine. If the person is already poor in a simple test, You can guess it won’t happen. It is capable of more complex tests and it deserves immediate attention, “he says.
There are no data in the study published in BMJ that show that improving balance will alter the risk of falling or dying. “But we can assume that yes. Just reducing the risk of falling will already be a safety factor and will be able to prolong survival,” says Claudio Araujo.
The purpose of the study was to show that a simple and safe balance test can be a reliable indicator of the risk of death and, thus, deserve to be included in the routine tests of the elderly.
Overall, 1 in 5 (20%) study participants failed the test. The ability to do this increases with age. The proportion of people unable to stand on one leg for ten seconds was: approximately 5% ages 51-55% 8% between 56-60 years; 18% between 61-65 years; And 37% between 66-70 years.
More than half (54%) of people between the ages of 71 and 75 failed the test. In other words, people this age were 11 times more likely to fail the test than people under 20 years old.
During an average follow-up period of seven years, 123 (7%) people died: cancer (32%); Cardiovascular diseases (30%); Respiratory disease (9%); And CoVID-19 complications (7%).
But no correlation has been established between these deaths and the results of the balance test.
In general, those who failed the test had poor health: a large proportion were obese and / or had heart disease, hypertension, and unhealthy blood fat profiles. Type 2 diabetes was three times more common in the group that failed the test: 38% vs. 13%.
According to the researchers, another limitation of the study is that since the participants were all white Brazilians, these findings could not be applied more broadly to other races and ethnicities.
A piece of advice from the study’s lead author: Elders need to be careful if they decide to test their own balance. “Being close to a wall or a strong table so you can lean on it if you lose your balance or if you have one.”