weekly blog--one for the ages
With the Boston Marathon scheduled for Monday, April 15, it’s time to hit the road. Just one hour a week of brisk walking staves off disability in older adults with arthritis pain, or aching or stiffness in a knee, hip, ankle or foot, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
An estimated 14 million older adults in the U.S. have symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, which is the most common form of osteoarthritis. Approximately two in five people with osteoarthritis, most of whom have it in their lower joints, develop disability limitations.
The study found an hour of weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity allowed older adults to maintain their ability to perform daily tasks like getting dressed or cross a street before a traffic light walk signal changed.
The weekly hour of exercise also reduced their risk of mobility disability (walking too slowly to safely cross a street or less than one meter per second) by 85 percent and their risk of activities of daily living disability (difficulty performing morning routine tasks such as walking across a room, bathing and dressing) by almost 45 percent.
Meanwhile, if you are wondering where’s the best place to recover after a hip or knee replacement, the trend seems to be at home if the procedure is elective, and friends and family are available to help with the recovery.
The newest data comes from a March study in JAMA Internal Medicine of 17 million Medicare hospitalizations of people from 2010 to 2016. All the patients were older adults and went home or to a skilled nursing facility after a medical procedure or a serious illness. Knee and hip replacements were the most common reason for these hospitalizations.
Overall, costs were significantly lower for patients who went home, while hospital readmissions were slightly higher--a possible signal that home health care services needed strengthening or that family caregivers needed better education and training.