CDC: 40% of Patients With Arthritis Don’t Receive Exercise Counseling From Providers

Better, but still plenty of room for improvement—that’s the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) take on a recent analysis of the rate at which health care providers are counseling patients with arthritis to engage in physical activity (PA). The good news: the percentage of individuals with arthritis who received provider counseling for exercise grew by 17.6% between 2002 and 2014. The bad news: even after that growth, nearly 4 in 10 patients with arthritis still aren’t receiving any information from their providers on the benefits of PA.

The CDC analysis, which appeared in a recent edition of its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, uses data from the National Health Interview Survey gathered in 2002 and 2014. In those years, the survey included a question on whether respondents had been told they have “arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia,” as well as a question asking whether “a doctor or other health professional [has] ever suggested physical activity or exercise to help your arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story at APTA

The Good With the Bad: Reports Show a Drop in Opioid Prescriptions and Dosage Strength, Rise in Prescription Duration and Opioid Hospitalizations

The latest news on the opioid crisis is decidedly mixed. Reports show some reduction in prescription rates and dosages, but an overall increase in prescription length, wide variation in prescribing across the US, and prescription prevalence in 2015 that was 3 times as high as it was in 1999 and 4 times higher than in Europe in 2015. CDC Acting Director Anne Schuchat told National Public Radio that the 2015 per capita prescription opioid rates are enough for “every American [to] be medicated around the clock for 3 weeks.”

The analysis, from the US Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), came on the heels of another report from the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research (AHRQ) showing that opioid-related inpatient stays and emergency department (ED) visits more than doubled between 2005 and 2014.

Full story of a drop in opioid prescriptions and dosage strength at APTA

Low physical activity increases risk of bladder, kidney cancer

Most of us know that physical activity is good for us. But a new study shows that a chronic lack of physical activity can drastically increase the chance of developing cancer in the bladder and kidneys, and it suggests that engaging in more physical activity may reduce this risk.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that, every year, almost 57,000 adults have kidney and renal pelvis cancers in the United States. Additionally, almost 14,000 people per year die from these cancers.

Bladder cancer is also widespread. According to the CDC, around 71,000 U.S. individuals developed bladder cancer in 2013, and almost 16,000 people died as a result.

Full story of physical activity and bladder cancer at Medical News Today

CDC: 1 in 3 Rural Residents Has Arthritis; Over 50% of Those Experience Activity Limitations

America has an arthritis problem, and rural America is being hit especially hard—that’s the finding of a report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that estimates nearly 1 in 3 rural residents in the US has some form of arthritis, with more than half of those with arthritis experiencing activity limitations.

The latest study, which appears in CDC’s May 25 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, describes the results of a detailed study of the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a survey of 426,361 noninstitutionalized adults across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Researchers asked respondents, “Have you ever been told by a doctor or other health professional that you have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia?” If the answer was “yes,” respondents were then asked, “Are you now limited in any way in any of your usual activities because of arthritis or joint symptoms?”

Full story of arthritis and activity limitations at APTA

New Canadian Guidelines Seek to Move Physicians Toward Nondrug Treatments for Pain

Add the Canadian Medical Association to the list of organizations shifting guidelines away from opioids in the treatment of chronic noncancer pain. In a set of updated recommendations that authors describe as consistent with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, Canadian physicians are being urged to pursue nonopioid and nondrug treatments as a firstline approach.

The guidelines, published in the May 8 edition of CMAJ, are an update to opioid prescription guidelines released in 2010, in which “almost all supported the prescribing of opioids,” according to the new guidelines’ authors. The new recommendations take a markedly different position, advocating not just for nondrug approaches but also for lower dosages when opioids must be used, as well as for tapering programs for patients receiving high-dosage therapy of 90 milligrams or more daily.

Full story of Canadian PT moving towards non-drug treatment for pain at APTA

CDC: 2 in 10 Health Care Workers Didn’t Get Flu Vaccines; 3 in 10 in Long-Term Care Settings

About 20% of health care personnel didn’t receive influenza vaccines during the 2015-2016 flu season, with employees in long-term care settings reporting an even higher—albeit improved—rate of non-vaccination, according to new data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The report, based on an opt-in Internet panel survey of 2,258 health care personnel during March and April 2016, found that the overall rates didn’t change much between the 2014-2015 and most recent flu season, with the most recent 79% rate more or less unchanged from the previous year’s rate of 77.3%. Among settings, personnel working in hospital settings reported a higher rate of vaccination (91.2%) compared with those working in ambulatory care (79.8%) and long-term care (69.2%) settings.

Full story of health care workers and flu vaccines at APTA

APTA House Backs Federal Anti-Opioid Efforts in No Uncertain Terms

In a vote that left no room for doubt, the APTA House of Delegates (House) added its official support to federal-level efforts to combat the opioid abuse and heroin use epidemic. The unanimous decision by the APTA’s highest policy-making body comes just 1 day after the association launched its own national campaign to promote physical therapy as an effective alternative to opioids for the treatment of pain.

The motion approved by the House formally endorses the national efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the White House to address the epidemic of opioid abuse and dependence, as well as the CDC’s recognition of physical therapist services as an alternative to opioids for managing pain. Announcement of the unanimous decision was met with cheers from the House.

Full story of House of Delegates backing federal anti-opioid efforts at APTA

US Obesity Rates Nearing 1 in 3 Adults; Physical Activity Rates Looking Better

At a rate of 30% in 2015, Americans are more obese than ever, according to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). But there are some bright spots when it comes to rates of physical activity (PA).

In recent reports, the CDC lists the 2015 obesity rate at 30.6% among US adults, a slight bump up from the 29.9% rate recorded in 2014, and a dramatic increase from the 19.4% rate of 1997.

Obesity rates were highest among adults 40-59 (34.9%), followed by the 60-and-over age group (30.1%) and adults 20-39 (26.7%). In all but the 60-and-older group, prevalence was higher among males than females. In terms of race/ethnicity and sex, non-Hispanic black females were most likely to be obese (45.2%), followed by non-Hispanic black men (34.5%) and Hispanic women (33%).

Full story of obesity and physical activity rates at APTA

CDC Says Nondrug Approaches ‘Preferred’ to Treat Chronic Pain; APTA Adds its Support

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) draft clinical guidelines on the use of opioids for chronic pain make it clear: nondrug approaches such as physical therapy are the “preferred” treatment path for chronic pain.

APTA couldn’t agree more.

This week, APTA submitted comments to a new CDC document aimed at primary providers who may prescribe opioids to treat chronic pain. The guidelines attempt to rein in growing rates of opioid use disorder and opioid overdose, and to help reduce the prevalence of opioid prescriptions, which topped 259 million in 2012—”enough for every adult in the United States to have a bottle of pills,” according to the CDC.

The guidelines were developed after expert review of evidence around not only the effectiveness of opioids (and their dangers), but also the ways in which nondrug approaches can be used in treatment. After evaluating the evidence, the CDC drafted recommendations around determining when to initiate or continue opioids for chronic pain, as well as guidelines for drug selection and dosage, and risk assessment.

Full story of non-drugs treating chronic pain preferred at APTA

Diabetes Rates Decline 2008-2014, But Experts Say Crisis Far From Over

Across the US, diabetes rates have been falling—but not for everyone, and not dramatically enough to indicate that crisis is over.

This week, The New York Times (NYT), National Public Radio (NPR), US News and World Report, and other media outlets reported on recent statistics from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that noted a drop in reported cases of type I and type 2 diabetes, from 1.7 million cases in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2014.

According to the NYT, “the drop has been gradual and for a number of years was not big enough to be statistically significant,” but the latest data “serve as a robust confirmation that the decline is real.”

Full story of diabetes rates declining at APTA