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New JAMA Study Highlights Mobility Limitation as Key to Healthy Aging
Date:9/26/2013

Wyckoff, NJ (PRWEB) September 26, 2013

A clinical review from geriatricians at the University of Alabama at Birmingham suggests that mobility limitations are a litmus test for healthy aging and urges primary care physicians to take a more aggressive role in ascertaining the mobility of their older patients. The study, authored by Cynthia Brown, M.D. et al., was published Sept. 18, 2013, in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Brown* said mobility limitations are often an early sign of impending functional decline in seniors, and that recognizing an increase in those limitations at an early stage creates the opportunity for successful interventions aimed at warding off functional decline and keeping seniors living independently for as long as possible.

“Mobility limitations are the edge of that slippery slope that leads to loss of function,” said Brown. “A decline in mobility seems to quickly lead to an across-the-board decline, including the routine activities of daily living. Mobility is a sort of barometer for how well an older person ages.” Brown recommends that primary care physicians ask all senior patients two questions: (1) For health or physical reasons, do you have difficulty climbing up 10 steps or walking a quarter of a mile?; and (2) Because of underlying health or physical reasons, have you modified the way you climb 10 steps or walk a quarter of a mile? A positive answer to either of the two questions should lead the primary care provider to dig deeper and identify the physical, social or environmental components leading to the limitations.

Brown states that “Mobility is one of the cornerstones of healthy aging. With an increasingly older population in the United States, it is incumbent on us to find ways to help o
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