Musculoskeletal, CV Diseases Associated With Physical Capability in Women

A study observed a correlation between musculoskeletal disorders and cardiovascular diseases (CVD) and faster degradation of physical capability in women.

The OSTPRE (Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention Study) prospective cohort comprised women aged 47 to 56 years living in Kuopio Province, Finland, in 1989, who responded to mailed questionnaires at five-year intervals. The first year that the survey included physical capability questions was 1994, which was considered baseline; only women who were completely physically capable at baseline were involved in the present study.

At baseline and in 2014, five scale self-reports were used to determine physical capability: completely physically capable, able to walk but not run, can walk up to 1,000 m, can walk up to 100 m, and temporarily severely incapable. The researchers compared the prevalence of certain chronic diseases (minimum 10%) with changes in self-reported physical capability. Correlations between long-term mortality and baseline physical capability of the 1994 study group as a whole were also assessed.

The present study population included 6,219 women. The mean age at baseline was 57 years. A significant correlation was observed between self-reported physical capability and functional tests. The most significant association was observed between CVD and musculoskeletal disorders and decreased physical capability. The full physical capability group, compared to the able to walk up to 100 m group, had a much lower rate of hypertension (48.7% vs. 74.5%, P<0.001), as well as rheumatoid arthritis (2.1% vs. 7.4%). Women with a higher baseline body mass index had poorer long-term capability (P<0.001). The mortality rate was lower among women who reported full physical capability at baseline than those who were in the able to walk up to 100 m group (15.1% vs. 48.5%, P=0.357). As baseline physical capability decreased, mortality increased.

The study was published in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.

“Preventative measures aimed at these diseases could help reduce the deterioration of physical capability, and therefore mortality,” the researchers concluded.