Optimal medication use obscures the impact of physical activity on traditional cardiometabolic risk factors. We evaluated the relationship between step counts and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (cfPWV), a summative risk indicator, in patients with type 2 diabetes and/or hypertension.Research design and methods:
Three hundred and sixty-nine participants were recruited (outpatient clinics; Montreal, Quebec; 2011–2015). Physical activity (pedometer/accelerometer), cfPWV (applanation tonometry), and risk factors (A1C, Homeostatic Model Assessment–Insulin Resistance, blood pressure, lipid profiles) were evaluated. Linear regression models were constructed to quantify the relationship of steps/day with cfPWV.Results:
The study population comprised 191 patients with type 2 diabetes and hypertension, 39 with type 2 diabetes, and 139 with hypertension (mean ± SD: age 59.6 ± 11.2 years; BMI 31.3 ± 4.8 kg/m2; 54.2% women). Blood pressure (125/77 ± 15/9 mmHg), A1C (diabetes: 7.7 ± 1.3%; 61 mmol/mol), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (diabetes: 2.19 ± 0.8 mmol/l; without diabetes: 3.13 ± 1.1mmol/l) were close to target. Participants averaged 5125 ± 2722 steps/day. Mean cfPWV was 9.8 ± 2.2 m/s. Steps correlated with cfPWV, but not with other risk factors. A 1000 steps/day increment was associated with a 0.1 m/s cfPWV decrement across adjusted models and in subgroup analysis by diabetes status. In a model adjusted for age, sex, BMI, ethnicity, immigrant status, employment, education, diabetes, hypertension, medication classes, the mean cfPWV decrement was 0.11 m/s (95% confidence interval −0.2, −0.02).Conclusions:
cfPWV is responsive to step counts in patients who are well controlled on cardioprotective medications. This ability to capture the ‘added value’ of physical activity supports the emerging role of cfPWV in arterial health monitoring.