Women’s mobility loss may be due to limb strength

WOMEN with peripheral arterial disease (PAD) lose mobility and function faster than men with the same condition, possibly because of their reduced calf and knee strength, research suggests.

A US study of 380 patients with PAD showed women were more than twice as likely to be unable to walk for six minutes continuously, 79% more likely to lose mobility, and see their walking speed decline faster than men over four years.

However, after adjusting for baseline results in functional performance, calf muscle area and reduced knee extension, the differences between women and women were attenuated.

Further studies were needed to determine whether interventions to increase calf muscle and lower extremity strength would slow functional decline in women with PAD.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2011; 57:707-14