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Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Jun;82(6):801-6.

Self-reported exercise before age 40: influence on quantitative skeletal ultrasound and fall risk in the elderly.

Author information

1
Department of Orthopedics, University Hospital, Basel, Switzerland. hbischof@hsph.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare musculoskeletal factors with bone structure, as measured by quantitative ultrasound (QUS) at the calcaneus, and their potential to predict fall risk in geriatric inpatients.

DESIGN:

Longitudinal.

SETTING:

Two geriatric hospitals in Switzerland.

PARTICIPANTS:

A total of 134 of 207 long-stay geriatric patients (96 women, 38 men) who were able to perform the timed up and go (TUG) test.

INTERVENTIONS:

Five musculoskeletal tests: 2 functional tests (TUG, for mobility; functional reach test, for balance), and 3 muscle strength tests (knee flexor, knee extensor, grip). Falls were monitored prospectively in a subgroup of 94 mobile subjects of 1 geriatric hospital throughout each individual length of stay (median, 31.4wk: interquartile range, 16-56.4wk).

MAIN OUTCOME MEASUREMENTS:

Functional and strength tests, mobility status, and self-reported exercise before age 40 were musculoskeletal factors to be compared with QUS.

RESULTS:

QUS was higher in mobile subjects without walking aid (p < .0001) and correlated significantly with muscle strength (knee flexor: r = .36; knee extensor: r = .30) and functional tests (TUG: r = -.25; functional reach: r = .16). Women who reported regular exercise before age 40 had higher QUS (p = .01) and fewer falls (p = .01). Falls were less frequent in subjects with walking aid (p = .03). No single musculoskeletal test, but rather a combination of demographic variables, musculoskeletal factors, and QUS could predict 76% of total variation of fall risk.

CONCLUSION:

This study showed the important impact of current mobility and muscle strength status on bone structure, as measured by QUS at the calcaneus. In addition, a beneficial effect of former exercise on QUS and fall risk at advanced age could be documented in women. Both findings support life-long engagement in exercise, which might be particularly meaningful for women.

PMID:
11387586
DOI:
10.1053/apmr.2001.22339
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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