“No pain, no gain” may help patients with circulatory diseases

posted on 07/27/2022 12:01 / updated on 07/27/2022 12:02

  (credit: Freepik/jcomp)

(credit: Freepik/jcomp)

the famous phrase “no pain, no gain” (“No pain, no gain” in free translation), widely used by gym lovers, may have new meaning for people suffering from peripheral arterial disease. A new US study shows that more intense walking, which causes more pain and discomfort, can help these patients in the long run.

Between 8 and 10 million people in the United States suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). The condition consists of reduced blood flow to the limbs from narrowed blood vessels and usually affects the legs and feet, causing symptoms during walking such as cramps, weakness, fatigue, pain or discomfort that disappear within 10 minutes. of rest.

With that in mind, researchers at the American Heart Association have looked at how the so-called “no pain, no gain” approach can help PAD patients walk better and lessen the symptoms caused by the disease.

The mean age of study participants was 69 years and patients were divided into three distinct groups for analysis.

The research — published in the scientific journal Journal of the American Heart Associationthis Wednesday (27/7) — lasted a year and the volunteers underwent tests at the beginning of the study and at the marks of six and 12 months.

The scans observed patients doing a speed walk over a distance of four meters at a normal pace and at a faster pace. In addition, they did short battery and performance physics (SPPB) analyzing four-meter walking speed at usual pace, standing balance test, and time for five repeated chair lifts.

The first group, which had 38% of participants, walked home at a comfortable pace; the second group (41%) walked at home at a pace that induced symptoms of leg disease, while the third group (21%) did not walk to exercise. Patients needed to use a device called ActiGraph, to monitor the intensity and time of walking they did.

surprising results

In the scans, participants who had walking pace inducing leg pain or discomfort walked 3.3 meters per minute faster in the tests after six months and, at the end of the study, walked more than 4.8 meters per minute faster than participants whose walking pace did not induce leg pain or discomfort.

Comparing the results of participants who exercised more intensely to those who did not exercise, they walked nearly 3.9 meters per minute faster at six months, however, this increase was not statistically significant at 12 months.

The results also show that, in exams to test physical performance, those who exercised more intensely scored almost 1 point more in the sum of the three leg function tests than those who walked at a comfortable pace. However, there was no improvement in walking speed at six months or 12 months compared with those who did not exercise.

“This finding is consistent with ‘no pain, no gain’ with respect to walking exercise in PAD,” points out Mary M. McDermott, one of the study’s authors.

The researchers further indicate that they are now looking for interventions that can make high-intensity exercise easier but still continue to be beneficial for people with PAD.

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