Walking, Not Riding, Boosts Health in Golfers With Knee Woes

Walking, Not Riding, Boosts Health in Golfers With Knee Woes

TUESDAY, Feb. 26, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Walking the golf course instead of riding in a cart offers heart health benefits that may outweigh potential joint harm for golfers with knee osteoarthritis, a new small study reports.

The study included 10 golfers with knee osteoarthritis who played two 18-hole rounds of golf. They walked the course in one round and used a golf cart in the other round.

Walking did increase the golfers’ knee inflammation, but they also got significant cardiovascular benefits, according to the researchers.

“The impetus for the study stemmed from the fact that the majority of rounds of golf in the United States are now played with a golf cart, which has been suggested to affect the health benefits of the sport. We wanted to measure the effect of this in individuals with knee osteoarthritis,” said study co-author Dr. Prakash Jayabalan. He is a clinician-scientist in sports medicine at AbilityLab, in Chicago.

More than 17 million people play golf in the United States each year. In nearly 70 percent of the rounds, golfers ride in motorized carts to travel between holes. Many golfers with knee arthritis may avoid walking because they think doing so may worsen their joint pain and cartilage degradation.

Osteoarthritis is often described as being caused by wear-and-tear on the joints, and it is a leading cause of disability for Americans aged 50 and older.

However, even though walking may increase inflammation in golfers with knee osteoarthritis, the researchers said there is evidence of cartilage remodeling effects in knees whether golfers walk or ride in a cart.

Golfers should consider their individual symptoms and follow their doctor’s advice, the study authors said in a news release from the Association of Academic Physiatrists.

“Walking exercise is commonly advocated for individuals with knee osteoarthritis. Our study suggests that golf may be a good prescription of walking exercise, particularly if they walk the course, as they get more health benefits,” said Jayabalan, who is also an assistant professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

The study included people who played golf regularly, so Jayabalan said the next step would be to evaluate golf as an exercise intervention for occasional golfers.

The report was presented Thursday at the annual meeting of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, in Puerto Rico. The research should be considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more on osteoarthritis.

SOURCE: Association of Academic Physiatrists, news release, Feb. 21, 2019

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Osteoporosis Often Missed in Elderly Men

Osteoporosis Often Missed in Elderly Men

FRIDAY, Feb. 15, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Osteoporosis is typically thought of as a woman’s disease, but elderly men are also prone to bone loss — even though they often aren’t treated for it, a new study finds.

Among men and women aged 80 and older, women were three times more likely to get osteoporosis treatment, researchers reported.

Ten million Americans have osteoporosis, according to the study. Each year, the disease causes 2 million fractures, costing $19 million. As the population ages, this could rise to 3 million fractures at a cost of $25 million by 2025.

Osteoporosis is a serious condition for men, too, the researchers added. After breaking a hip, the risk of illness and death is greater among men than women, they noted.

For the study, researchers led by Dr. Radhika Rao Narla, from the Division of Metabolism, Endocrinology and Nutrition at the University of Washington in Seattle, compared screening and treatment for osteoporosis among more than 13,700 men and women aged 70 and older.

Managing the disease included scans of bone mineral density, measuring levels of vitamin D, and treatment with vitamin D, calcium supplements and bisphosphonates (some brand names include Boniva, Actonel and Fosamax).

The investigators looked at more than 11,600 men and 460 women where age alone was a risk factor for hip fracture, and another group of more than 1,600 men at risk for osteoporosis due to previous fracture or treatment that weakened bones.

About 50 percent of the men aged 75 to 79 had a risk of breaking a hip that qualified them for osteoporosis treatment, as did 88 percent of the men aged 80 and older.

The researchers found that men were much less likely than women to be tested and treated for osteoporosis, especially those aged 80 and older.

Looking at age alone, the researchers found that more women than men had their bone density measured (63 percent versus 12 percent) and had their vitamin D levels measured (39 percent versus 18 percent).

Women were more than three times as likely to be given calcium and vitamin D supplements (63 percent versus 20 percent) and to be treated with bisphosphonates (44 percent versus 5 percent), the researchers found.

Among men aged 80 and older, only 10 to 13 percent had bone density measured and fewer than 1 in 10 were treated with bisphosphonates.

Men at higher risk for hip fractures or those who had already suffered from a broken hip were often overlooked for diagnosis and treatment, the researchers noted.

Narla and her team could not say why men are not assessed for osteoporosis. It might be a lack of awareness of screening guidelines or doctors are busy dealing with other medical problems, they said.

These findings suggest that guidelines are “inadequate in effectively identifying older men who might benefit from evaluation for osteoporosis and fracture prevention treatment,” the researchers said.

The report was published online Feb. 14 in the Journal of Investigative Medicine.

“We believe that there is a need for developing strategies to improve the evaluation and management for all older men, particularly among elderly men with a very high risk of fracture,” Narla’s group said in a journal news release.

More information

The National Osteoporosis Foundation offers more on osteoporosis.

SOURCE: Journal of Investigative Medicine, news release, Feb. 14, 2019

Emergency Rooms the Destination for Many Electric Scooter Users

Emergency Rooms the Destination for Many Electric Scooter Users

FRIDAY, Jan. 25, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Rented electric scooters have become all the rage in getting around cities, but they are also accidents waiting to happen, a new study reveals.

In two Southern California emergency departments, nearly 250 people were seen for injuries linked to electric scooters in a single year, researchers found.

“Riders of electric scooters share roads with fast-moving vehicular traffic and share sidewalks with lots of pedestrian traffic and uneven curbs, and riders seem to underestimate hazards,” said senior study author Dr. Joann Elmore. She’s a professor of medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

Injuries associated with these electric scooters are a new phenomenon, she noted. “While the injuries vary in severity, some are serious, including fractures and head injuries,” Elmore said.

These data are likely a conservative estimate because the researchers only included patients seen in emergency rooms. “Our findings do not cover the many patients seen in our outpatient clinics,” Elmore added.

“Electric scooters are an innovative and inexpensive method of transportation for short distances,” she pointed out.

The companies offering these electric scooters are rapidly expanding in the United States and internationally. “This is now a billion dollar market, with ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft recently entering the market,” Elmore explained.

In addition, companies such as Bird, Lime and Skip have set up standup scooter rentals in many parts of the country, which has resulted in some controversy over regulations for these modes of transportation.

For the study, Elmore and her colleagues used medical records from University of California, Los Angeles-affiliated hospital emergency departments to look at accidents associated with standup electric scooters over one year. In all, 228 patients were injured as riders and 21 as non-riders.

Nearly 11 percent of injured riders were under 18, and only about 4 percent wore helmets, the investigators found.

The most common injuries were fractures, head injuries and soft-tissue injuries. Most patients were discharged from the emergency department, but 15 were admitted to the hospital, including two with severe head injuries.

Most patients had scans of their arms or legs, and 8 percent had CT scans of the head, cervical spine, chest, abdomen and pelvis — an indication of serious injury.

Among all the patients, 32 percent had fractures and 40 percent had head injuries, the findings showed.

Most injuries were from falls (80 percent), collisions with objects (11 percent) or being struck by a car or object (9 percent). Among all the patients, 5 percent had blood alcohol levels that showed they were intoxicated, the researchers found.

To cut down on severe injuries, Elmore encourages riders to “be careful, follow local traffic laws, and wear helmets.”

Dr. Frederick Rivara, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Washington in Seattle, wrote an editorial accompanying the study. He said, “I, and a lot of people, have spent time trying to increase helmet use on regular bikes.”

When it comes to electric scooters, most people don’t wear helmets, he added. “I understand why, because most people don’t carry a helmet with them,” Rivara said.

But wearing a helmet can prevent a lot of serious injury. Rivara thinks that the cities that allow these scooters and the companies that rent them should have some provisions to ensure that renters wear helmets.

Although not many head injuries from electric scooters have been seen yet, as their use increases, more injuries are likely to follow, Rivara warned.

These scooters can travel relatively fast, some nearly 40 miles per hour, increasing the odds for an accident and injury, he explained. For comparison, two-thirds of the hospitalizations and three-quarters of the deaths from bicycle accidents are from head injuries.

“People who rent these scooters regularly ought to carry a helmet,” Rivara said. “In addition, cities that allow these things ought to partner with the companies to try to solve the problem of how to provide helmets for the riders — with these things being motorized, there’s a real need to address this problem.”

The report was published online Jan. 25 in JAMA Network Open.

More information

For more on electric scooter safety, visit the Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

SOURCES: Joann Elmore, M.D., M.P.H., professor, medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles; Frederick Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., professor, pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle; Jan. 25, 2019, JAMA Network Open, online

Health Tip: What to Eat if You Have Arthritis

Health Tip: What to Eat if You Have Arthritis

f you have arthritis, there are foods that may help you feel better.

A diet that’s rich in vitamins and minerals, and includes fruits, lean proteins, fish, vegetables, nuts and healthy oils may be most beneficial, the foundation says.

But it cautions against changing too much, too soon. Gradually swap out ingredients at each meal, and you may feel a big difference in how you feel and how well you can manage your pain and discomfort, the foundation adds.

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