Harvard Heart Letter

Heart Beat: Motorized scooters

Motorized scooters are a boon for anyone whose ability to get around is limited by arthritis, lung disease, heart failure, or another disabling condition. But the increase in mobility and quality of life may be offset by worrisome changes in blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol.

At Elgin Air Force Base Hospital in Florida, 102 men and women who were given a motorized scooter were followed for a year. All reported big improvements in their quality of life, especially their ability to go shopping and visit family. At the same time, the average blood sugar level increased 12%, and nearly one-third of the participants needed new or stronger blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering medications (American Journal of Cardiology, March 1, 2010).

If you use a motorized scooter, don't ignore your cardiovascular health. Ask your doctor about things you can do to keep your muscles and your heart as strong as possible.

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