Study Finds Dog Walking Causes More Bone Fractures Among Seniors
Have you ever thought that dogs may be too energetic for your senior family members? The benefits of dog ownership, such as to alleviate loneliness and reduce pressure, have been widely accepted and spread among the public. Dog walking, especially, is seen as a good way to keep owners fit. Yet a recent study published in JAMA Surgery offers us an insight into the other side of the coin: cases of bone fracture related to dog walking among the elderly are increasing.
Owners enjoy many physical and social benefits of walking dogs several times a day. For instance, they tend to have improved cardiovascular fitness, lower blood pressure, stronger muscles, than those who do not own dogs. Walking is necessary for both dogs and owners. Yet, there is an ever rising injury risk of dog walking for elderly owners: bone fractures.
Researchers from University of Pennsylvania found that bone fractures caused by leashed dog walking have grown from 1,671 in 2004 to 4,500 in 2017 among U.S. seniors over the age of 65. Data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System consist of representative samples of about 100 emergency rooms across the nation. The risk of bone fractures shouldn’t be overlooked, researchers suggested. Almost 30% of the injured seniors in the paper were admitted to the hospital, and nearly 20% suffered hip fractures, while a small disease can greatly damage the quality of life of the elderly.
Researchers still can’t explain clearly the relation. Dogs’ falling and lunging are the most common situations in these accidents. Other factors play a role in this rise as well. For example, baby boomers are much more active than previous generations. Also there are many health-care providers suggesting dog ownership to seniors as a harmless way to improve health.
“As we get older, we should consider both the risks and benefits of the physical activity we desire and make sure we’re safely and thoughtfully up for the challenge,” co-author Dr. Jaimo Ahn said.“We occasionally see patients who are seemingly doing a good thing — trying to be active, taking their pet out and then having an accident they never anticipated.”
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