15 Things Your Walk Reveals About Your Health

Paula Spencer Scott, Caring.com senior editor discovered there really is something to the way he or she moves.  Cue Aerosmith.
The following are 15 walking styles which reveal a whole lot about your health.  If you find one that describes you or someone you know, click on the link below to find out more information about it.

1. Walking at a snail’s pace may reveal: Shorter life expectancy

The average speed was 3 feet per second (about two miles an hour). Those who walked slower than 2 feet per second (1.36 miles per hour) had an increased risk of dying.   Walking speed is a reliable marker for longevity, according to a University of Pittsburgh analysis of nine large studies, reported in a January 2011 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

2.  Walking with not too much arm swing may  reveal: Lower back trouble

If someone is walking without much swing to the arm, it’s a red flag that the spine isn’t being supported as well as it could be, because of some kind of limitation in the back’s mobility. Back pain or a vulnerability to damage can follow.

3.  One foot slaps the ground may reveal: Ruptured disk in back, possible stroke

Sometimes experts don’t have to see you walk — they can hear you coming down the hall. A condition called “foot slap” or “drop foot” is when your foot literally slaps the ground as you walk.   A ruptured disk in the back is a common cause, since it can compress a nerve that travels down the leg.

4.  A confident stride in a woman may reveal: Sexual satisfaction

Your stride and gait don’t always indicate bad things.  Women who have a fluid, energetic stride seem to be more likely to easily and often have vaginal orgasms, researchers said.

5.  A short stride may reveal: Knee or hip degeneration

When the heel hits the ground at the beginning of a stride, the knee should be straight. If it’s not, that can indicate a range-of-motion problem in which something is impairing the ability of the knee joint to move appropriately within the kneecap.

6.  Dropping the pelvis or shoulder to one side may reveal: A back problem

Muscles called the abductors on the outside of the hips work to keep the pelvis level with each step we take. So while we’re lifting one leg and swinging it forward, and standing on the other, the abductors keep the body even — unless those muscles aren’t working properly.

7.  Bow legged stride may reveal: Osteoarthritis

Bowlegs (also called genu varum) happen because the body can’t be supported adequately; the knees literally bow out.

8.  Knock-kneed appearance may reveal: Rheumatoid arthritis

In knock-knee (genu valgum, or valgus knee), the lower legs aren’t straight but bend outward.  Sometimes osteoarthritis can also result in knock-knees, depending which joints are affected.

9.  A shortened stride on turns and when maneuvering around things may reveal: Poor physical condition

Balance is a function of coordination between three systems: vision, the inner ear, and what’s called “proprioception,” which is the joints’ ability to tell you their position. The joints can do this because of receptors in the connective tissue around them. But the quality of the receptors is related to how much motion the joint experiences.

10.  A flat step without much lift may reveal: Flat feet, bunions, neuromas

Flat feet are obvious at a glance: There’s almost no visible arch (hence one of the condition’s names, “fallen arches”). But other conditions can also cause a flat walk.

11.  Shuffling feet may reveal: Parkinson’s disease

Shuffling — bending forward and having difficulty lifting feet off the ground — isn’t an inevitable aspect of aging. It’s a distinct gait that may indicate that someone has Parkinson’s disease.  The person’s steps may also be short and hesitant

12.  Walking on tiptoes, both feet may reveal: Cerebral palsy or spinal cord trauma

It’s related to overactive muscle tone, caused by stretch receptors that fire incorrectly in the brain. When the toe-walking happens on both sides, it’s almost always because of damage high in the spinal column or brain, such as cerebral palsy or spinal cord trauma.

13.  Walking on tiptoes, one foot may reveal: Stroke

Doctors assessing toe-walking look for symmetry: Is it happening on both sides or only one? When a person toe-walks only on one side, it’s an indicator of stroke, which usually damages one side of the body.

14. A bouncing gait may reveal: Unusually tight calf muscles

Specialists can see the heel-off, the first part of a normal step, happen a bit too quickly, because of tight calf muscles.

15.  One higher arch and/or a pelvis that dips slightly may reveal: One leg is shorter than the other

Limb (or leg) length discrepancy simply means that one leg is shorter than the other. You can be born with limb discrepancy or get it as the result of knee or hip replacements, if limbs don’t line up perfectly after healing.  Shoe inserts usually can make up for a quarter-inch discrepancy; surgery is sometimes recommended for larger differences.

Read the entire article here: http://www.caring.com/articles/things-walk-reveals-about-health

This content was originally published by Caring.com: “15 Things Your Walk Reveals About Your Health” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.

Popular Cholesterol Medication Linked to Diabetes Risk in Women by Maria Dorfner

Update:  Check this link out.  Connect the dots.  http://www.theheart.org/article/1339515.do

One in four Americans over age 45 take what’s called a statin to lower their cholesterol.  If you are reading this and you’re over age 45 and do not have high cholesterol — you’re one of the three out four lucky ones. I’d be willing to bet a cheese burger that what people eat has everything to do with it.  Change that and you won’t need the statins.  Back to the study.

The new study says this popular cholesterol drug can increase a woman’s risk of diabetes by almost fifty percent. Hmmm… So, let’s get this right. You have high cholesterol. You take a drug. Now, you have high cholesterol AND diabetes.  Sweet.  Pun intended.

The latest report is in The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of JAMA/Archives journals.  [Disclosure: I produced medical reports for JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association].

According to this seven year study reported in Archives of Internal Medicine, post-menopausal women who take statins,  have been found to have a higher risk of developing diabetes.

Seriously, it’s difficult for women on statins to know what to do because on one hand they’re being told they have an increased risk for diabetes and on the other they are being told the benefits outweigh the risk.

Here are some details on the study:

Researchers from various medical schools in Massachusetts and other US faculties, compared results from women prescribed statins and those who were not on those medications.

The study involved almost 154,000 women, over age fifty. They did not have diabetes when the study began. They learned the women who had been prescribed certain types of statins had a 48% higher chance of subsequently being diagnosed with diabetes, compared to their counterparts who were not on those medications.

The Women’s Health Initiative included almost 154,000 females over fifty years of age who did not have diabetes at baseline.

The study began in the mid-1990s.  Participants were asked to complete questionnaires which asked about their medication intake, including statins. Questions on diabetes risk factors including their nutrition, exercise level, weight, and lifestyle were included.

They were then tracked for seven years.  A total of 10,242 women developed diabetes, of whom 1 in every 14 had been on statins.

The authors say statin users should maintain a healthy body weight, exercise, and follow a healthy diet.

Dr. Duane Graveline, M.D., M.P.H. isn’t surprised by the results of this study.  He says, “Ever since Siddals and others first published the paper titled “Abrogation of Insulin-like Growth Factor-I (IGF-I) and Insulin Action by Mevalonic Acid Depletion” I had been waiting for this diabetes “shoe” to drop, reflecting yet another side effect of the statin class of drugs.”

Graveline says the higher the dose of statins, the higher the risk of diabetes.  However, the authors of the study claim the benefits of statins – cholesterol-lowering medications – still outweigh the risks.

Please check back at the end of day for more links to help you make an informed decision about your health.

More links