Tai Chi and multimorbidity

From T'ai Chi, a Flipboard magazine by Beckygoldin

In 2015, British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM) published a systematic review and meta-analysis about the effect of Tai Chi on four chronic conditions. The results demonstrated a favorable effect of Tai Chi (Taiji) to improve physical performance and showed that individuals with different chronic conditions like cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, and osteoarthritis could practice Tai Chi.

Led by Yi-Wen Chen, PhD Candidate at University of British Columbia, Canada, this review searched related scientific studies in four major medical databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and SPORTDiscus), then applied a stringent set of criteria including whether a study used a randomized controlled trial (RCT) in the research to select the data. Chen and others further employed meta-analysis to the selected data and discovered that Tai Chi improved physical performance outcomes. In those selected research, the participants who practiced Tai Chi had significant improvement in the 6-minute walking distance test (6MWD) and better knee extension strength in the four targeted chronic conditions: cancer, osteoarthritis, heart failure, and COPD. Additionally, the researchers also found out that Tai Chi improved disease-specific symptoms of pain and stiffness in patients suffered from osteoarthritis.

Multimorbidity, the coexistence of 2 or more chronic conditions, has become prevalent among older adults. In a study published by Oxford University Press in 2013 examined nearly 31 million Medicare beneficiaries in the U.S.A. for 15 prevalent chronic conditions and found a total of 67% had multimorbidity. Multimorbidity increased with age, from 50% for persons under age 65 years to 62% for those aged 65–74 years and 81.5% for those aged 85 and older. A Primary (Care) Practices Research Network Report (PPRNet) shows that multimorbidity is not just a problem of older adults. 10% of people aged 30-40 already have 2 or more chronic diseases. In the same PPRNet report, it shows the top three chronic diseases are hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and depression.

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