The concept of “locomotive syndrome” is the circumstances in which elderly people need nursing care services or are at high risk of requiring such services within a short time.
The public health burden of providing nursing care for elderly individuals has increased and the locomotive syndrome is turning out to be a major public health problem in Japan, the country that “named” this need. This study investigated the relationship of lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, sleep duration and dental health with locomotive syndrome.
Physical factors, such as knee and spinal factors are often related to locomotive syndrome. Decreasing back muscle strength and aging are reported to be the most important risk factors for this syndrome.
Locomotive syndrome strongly impacts the individual’s quality of life and appears to be a useful concept for screening individuals with low quality of life due to musculoskeletal diseases, such as lumbar disease and knee osteoarthritis (OA).
However, few studies may suggest that the locomotive syndrome may affect mainly individuals whose lifestyle may include smoking and alcohol consumption. According to those studies, it is still unclear whether lifestyle factors affect the development of locomotive syndrome.
The study concludes that lifestyle modifications, such as improving oral hygiene and promoting the cessation of smoking, may represent important means to reduce the risk of locomotive syndrome. “It has been reported that men with knee OA who smoke sustain greater cartilage loss and have more severe knee pain than men who do not smoke.”
The study has some limitations such as: internet was the survey chosen to collect data and all the measures were based on self-report, which may lead to some misclassification.
To investigate the relationship of some specific factors with locomotive syndrome in greater detail, quantitative data are required like addressing social, behavioral, and cultural factors in targeted communities.
Check the full study here.