Submitted to: Journal of Aging Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/6/2012
Publication Date: 8/27/2012
Citation: Heffernan, K.S., Chale, A., Hau, C., Cloutier, G.J., Phillips, E.M., Warner, P., Nickerson, H., Reid, K.F., Kuvin, J.T., Fielding, R.A. 2012. Systemic vascular function is associated with muscular power in adults. Journal of Aging Research. DOI: 10.1155/386387. Interpretive Summary: Muscle weakness is a threat to mobility and quality of life. As we age, we lose muscle strength and power and this affects our physical function (ability to walk, climb stairs, stand up from a seated position etc). Another significant health concern is cardiovascular disease. As we age, our arteries become stiffer and this may affect blood flow to muscles as we exercise. In this study, we found an association between blood vessel health and muscle power in older adults. Older adults with more elastic arteries had greater muscle power than older adults with stiffer arteries. Findings from this study suggest that loss of artery elasticity with aging may affect muscle power and subsequently physical function in older adults.
Technical Abstract: Age-associated loss of muscular strength and muscular power are critical determinants of loss of physical function and progression to disability in older adults. In this study, we examined the association of systemic vascular function and measures of muscle strength and power in older adults. Measures of vascular endothelial function included brachial artery flow mediated dilation (FMD) and the pulse wave amplitude reactive hyperemia index (PWA-RHI). Augmentation index (AIx) was taken as a measure of systemic vascular function related to arterial stiffness and wave reflection. Measures of muscular strength included one repetition maximum (1RM) for a bilateral leg press. Peak power output was measured during 5 repetitions performed as fast as possible for bilateral leg press at 40% 1 RM. Muscular power was associated with brachial FMD (r = 0.43, p<0.05), PWA-RHI (r = 0.42, p<0.05) and AIx (r = -0.54, p<0.05). Muscular strength was not associated with measures of vascular function. Moreover, there were no inter-associations between measures of vascular function in this cohort. In conclusion, systemic vascular function is a predictor of lower-limb muscular power but not muscular strength in older adults.