A clinical review from UAB geriatricians 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 was published Sept. 18, 2013, in the Journal of the American Medical Association, as part of their continuing series, Care of an Aging Patient.
The authors, Cynthia J. Brown, M.D., MSPH, and Kellie Flood, M.D., in the Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care, conducted a clinical review of academic papers published between 1985 and 2012 dealing with mobility issues in a general aging population.
“The review confirmed that increased physical activity and exercise are extremely important for healthy aging,” said Brown. “We’ve also identified mobility-limiting risk factors and created an approach to help medical professionals screen for and treat those risk factors.”
Brown said mobility limitations are often an early sign of impending functional decline in seniors. 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.
Read more about the study's findings.