Midlife Inflammation Tied to Slowing of Gait Speed in Later Life

Findings even among otherwise healthy adults and regardless of race or socioeconomic disadvantage
senior walking
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Medically Reviewed By:
Meeta Shah, M.D.

FRIDAY, June 14, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- Inflammation in midlife may contribute to clinically meaningful late-life slowing of gait speed, according to a study published online June 12 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Kirby G. Parker, M.D., from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and colleagues examined the relationship between midlife inflammation and late-life mobility, along with the influences of chronic health conditions, race, and social determinants of health (SDoH). Analysis included 4,758 community-dwelling participants with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) measured in midlife at study visit 2 (1990–1992; 47 to 68 years); at visit 4 (1996 to 1998; 53 to 74 years); and late-life (visit 5: 2011 to 2013; mean 75 years).

The researchers found that high midlife hsCRP was associated with slower late-life gait speed, even among those without chronic conditions in midlife (−4.6 cm/second). Among those who never experienced obesity, diabetes, or hypertension, sustained high hsCRP was associated with a 20-year slowing of −10.0 cm/second. Findings were similar for both Black participants (−3.8 cm/second) and White participants (−3.3 cm/second) per interquartile range of midlife hsCRP. Chronic conditions and race had no effect modifications throughout. In all participants, worse SDoH was associated with higher inflammation and slower gait speed.

"Regular monitoring of inflammation during wellness visits and other preventative programs may be warranted for all people, adding value alongside other common chronic condition measures," the authors write.

One author disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Abstract/Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

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