A short physical function test can help specialists predict the the risk of heart problems in over-65s, according the new research. Walking speed, the time it takes to get out of a chair without using hands and balance while standing can be signposts to the likelihood of heart attacks, heart failure and strokes independently of traditional indicators such as smoking, high blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes. During an eight year study by experts at the US Johns Hopkins medical institution 930 participants who took the Short Physical Performance Test experienced one or more cardiac events. Those with low physical function scores were 47% more likely to suffer at least one such event, while intermediate scorers had a 25% higher risk.