A team of researchers from the European Society of Cardiology developed a simple and inexpensive method for checking heart health. And you, did you know it?
The simple test consists of climbing four flights of stairs in less than a minute. If you can do it, you don’t have a heart problem.
During the experiment, the researchers tested 165 symptomatic patients who suffered from coronary artery disease and suffered from symptoms such as chest pain or breathing difficulties. First, the volunteers walked or ran on a treadmill. Patients were then asked to climb four flights of stairs—or 60 steps—at a fast pace non-stop. Finally, the scientists analyzed the so-called metabolic equivalents (METs) of the patients and the time it took to climb the ladder.
Those who managed to climb in less than 40-45 seconds obtained more than 9-10 METs. Previous studies have shown that a MET of 10 during a stress test is associated with a low mortality rate (1% or less per year or 10% in 10 years). On the other hand, participants who took 1.5 minutes or more to climb the ladder achieved less than 8 METs, which corresponds to a mortality rate of between 2% to 4% per year or 30% in 10 years.
“The stairs test is an easy way to check your heart health. If it takes you more than one-and-a-half minutes to ascend four flights of stairs, your health is suboptimal, and it would be a good idea to consult a doctor,” explained the main author of the study, Jesus Peteiro, from the University Hospital A Coruña, Spain.
Researchers also reported that 58% of patients who needed more than a minute and a half to complete the test showed abnormal heart function during the treadmill test, compared to only 32% of those who managed to climb the stairs in less than a minute.