Postprandial hypotension (PPH), a fall in systolic blood pressure (SBP) within 2 h of a meal, may detrimentally affect gait parameters and increase the falls risk in older people. We aimed to determine the effects of postprandial SBP on heart rate (HR), gait speed, and stride length, double-support time and swing time variability in older subjects with and without PPH. Twenty-nine subjects were studied on three days: glucose (“G”), water and walk (“WW”), glucose and walk (“GW”). Subjects consumed a glucose drink on “G” and “GW” and water on “WW”. The “G” day determined which subjects had PPH. On “WW” and “GW” gait was analyzed. Sixteen subjects demonstrated PPH. In this group, there were significant changes in gait speed (p
= 0.040) on “WW” and double-support time variability (p
= 0.027) on “GW”. The area under the curve for the change in gait parameters from baseline was not significant on any study day. Among subjects without PPH, SBP increased on “WW” (p
< 0.005) and all gait parameters remained unchanged on all study days. These findings suggest that by changing gait parameters, PPH may contribute to an increased falls risk in the older person with PPH.
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