Increased step count linked to better health for people with heart failure


Increased step count linked to better health for people with heart failure

Health researchers took a novel approach to data by drawing on wearable step-counters to determine the health benefits for patients who have experienced heart failure. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Clinicians examining data from wearable devices that track steps per day found people with heart failure experienced fewer health limitations with increased mobility.

A study from Michigan Medicine and the University of Missouri, alongside St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, takes a novel approach to wearable devices by looking at step-counters for people with heart issues.

In short, researchers found that the more steps, the better, and they published their findings in JACC: Heart Failure..

“This is one of the first studies to provide context to wearable device data from heart failure patients and helps us to understand what physical activity data from a wearable device means at a population level, as well as at the individual level,” the University of Michigan’s Dr. Jessica R. Golbus, lead author of the study, said in a news release.

Golbus is a clinical instructor who specializes in heat-related conditions and transplantation at the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center in Ann Arbor.

In a randomized, national trial of more than 400 patients, researchers looked at data from activity monitors to determine the relationship between steps, total floors climbed and physical symptoms over a 12-week period.

“Baseline step counts between 1,000 and 5,000 steps were associated with significantly improved symptoms and fewer physical limitations,” the research showed.

Generally speaking, it takes between 2,000 and 2,500 steps to travel a mile.

For regular walking, Dr. Brahmajee Nallamothu, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan’s medical school, said wearable data trackers give clinicians an intimate look at patient behavior and health.

“By collecting data from wearable devices, we can now examine folks in their home environments and over time,” he said in a news release. “That’s something special about this work.”

Researchers elsewhere, however, found that the volume of exercise had significant health benefits, even if patients squeeze it all into one day. The recommended 150 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week has obvious health benefits, according to scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“Our study suggests that it’s the volume of activity, rather than the pattern, that matters most in terms of cardiovascular health,” lead researcher Dr. Shaan Khurshid said.


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