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Reducing risk of hospitalization in the elderly
Date:7/29/2009

interventions, such as physical exercise, that improve physical function could help keep more vulnerable seniors out of the hospital," says Cawthon. "That would not only reduce disability but it would also reduce the huge economic burden associated with hospitalization of the elderly."

One in five Americans over the age of 65 suffers from sarcopenia. In 2000 the direct health care cost of treating it were estimated to be more than $18.5 billion. With the number of Americans older than 65 estimated to double by the middle of the century those costs are expected to increase dramatically.

Preventing older Americans from being hospitalized is more than just a matter of saving health care dollars, it may also save lives. Numerous studies show that even short stays in the hospital are associated with a greater future risk of functional decline and disability.

"Most methods of measuring muscle mass or density rely on complex imaging procedures, such as using quantitative computed tomography (QCT). Those are time consuming and expensive," says Cawthon. "However, we found that much simpler methods such as measuring walking speed are much easier and cheaper to do, and are even more accurate in determining a person's risk of future hospitalization. This gives us the ability to screen larger groups of people and help those at risk with some simple interventions, such as physical exercise."


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Contact: Jennifer Beal
medicalnews@wiley.com
44-124-377-0633
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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