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Effect of a Brief Heat Exposure on Blood Pressure and Physical Performance of Older Women Living in the Community—A Pilot-Study

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014;11(12):12623-12631 DOI 10.3390/ijerph111212623

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health

ISSN: 1661-7827 (Print); 1660-4601 (Online)

Publisher: MDPI AG

LCC Subject Category: Medicine

Country of publisher: Switzerland

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, ePUB, XML

 

AUTHORS


Anja Stotz (Department of Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany)

Kilian Rapp (Department of Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany)

Juha Oksa (Physical Work Capacity Team, Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, 90220 Oulu, Finland)

Dawn A. Skelton (Institute of Applied Health Research, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, G4 0BA, UK)

Nina Beyer (Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Research Unit, Bispebjerg and Frederiksberg Hospitals, University of Copenhagen, 2400 NV Copenhagen, Denmark)

Jochen Klenk (Department of Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany)

Clemens Becker (Department of Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany)

Ulrich Lindemann (Department of Clinical Gerontology and Rehabilitation, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, 70376 Stuttgart, Germany)

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 11 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Global climate change is affecting health and mortality, particularly in vulnerable populations. High ambient temperatures decrease blood pressure (BP) in young and middle aged adults and may lead to orthostatic hypotension, increasing the risk of falls in older adults. The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of a test protocol to investigate BP response and aerobic capacity of older adults in a hot indoor environment. BP response and aerobic capacity were assessed in 26 community-dwelling older women (median age 75.5 years) at a room temperature of either 20 °C or 30 °C. The protocol was well tolerated by all participants. In the 30 °C condition systolic and diastolic BP (median difference 10 and 8 mmHg, respectively) and distance walked in 6 min (median difference 29.3 m) were lower than in the 20 °C condition (all p < 0.01). Systolic BP decreased after standing up from a lying position in the 30 °C (17.4 mmHg) and 20 °C (14.2 mmHg) condition (both p < 0.001). In conclusion, the protocol is feasible in this cohort and should be repeated in older adults with poor physical performance and impaired cardio-vascular response mechanisms. Furthermore, aerobic capacity was reduced after exposure to hot environmental temperatures, which should be considered when recommending exercise to older people during the summer months.