Astrand test: a comparison between patients with Parkinson's Disease and healthy controls
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Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurological disease characterized by motor and non-motor symptoms. In patients with PD the leading causes of death are respiratory complications and cardiovascular diseases. Physical activity levels decline more in patients with PD than their healthy peers. Therefore exercise has been recommended. Before starting exercise therapy measuring aerobic capacity is important. A recent study, the ParkFit study, showed that 50% of sedentary patients with PD did not accomplish a submaximal exercise test (the so called Åstrand test). It is unclear whether this is caused by the disease or by the sedentary lifestyle. Methods: A total of 453 sedentary patients with PD and 29 age-, gender and sedentary lifestyle matched healthy subjects completed a questionnaire regarding physical activity and performed the Åstrand test. Comparisons between two groups were performed by using the Independent-Samples T-Test. Univariate analyses were performed to identify variables significantly associated with a well-performed Åstrand test. Results: Fifty-three percent of the patients with PD failed the Åstrand test and 14% of healthy subject failed the test. Healthy subjects were significantly less active than patients with PD. The regression analysis showed that body mass index, systolic blood pressure, gender, age, resting heart rate and maximum workload were associated with a well-performed Åstrand test. Conclusion: The feasibility of the Åstrand test is low in patients with PD. Sedentary lifestyle is not the mayor reason for not well-performing the Åstrand test. No explanatory factor for not well-performing the Åstrand test could be identified.