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  • Heart Disease Risk Lowered By Increasing Steps Per Day

    Simply increasing the number of steps taken per day can lower the chances for heart disease among individuals at high risk for type 2 diabetes, according to a study that involved more than 9,300 people in 40 countries.

    In the study, researchers tracked physical activity of participants in a 2002–2004 program for individuals with impaired glucose tolerance and existing cardiovascular disease or at least 1 other cardiovascular risk factor. The researchers tracked steps-per-day for all participants for 1 year and continued to follow up to monitor cardiovascular events for 6 years.

    The study found that when looking at steps-per-day averages over the study period, every 2,000-step increment reduced risk of heart disease by 10%. Additionally, researchers noted, risk fell an additional 8% for every 2,000 additional steps per day achieved by participants who increased their activity from baseline averages. The findings are reported in the December 20, 2013, edition of The Lancet(abstract only available for free).

    Researchers also wrote that the positive effects could be observed regardless of body weight or starting level of activity.

    APTA offers multiple resources for physical therapists interested in learning more about the role of physical therapy in the treatment of diabetes. Continuing education offerings include an introduction to type 2 diabetes and a discussion of physical therapy's perspective on prevention and management. The association also offers a pocket guide to physical fitness and type 2 diabetes (.pdf).

    CMS to Propose New Rule on Emergency Preparedness

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has found significant gaps in emergency preparedness among its providers, and is proposing regulations that would require providers and suppliers to meet planning, training, and communication standards.

    "We believe that currently, in the event of a disaster, health care providers and suppliers across the nation would not have the necessary emergency planning and preparations in place to adequately protect the health and safety of patients," CMS states in the proposed rule. "Thus, we are proposing these emergency preparedness requirements to establish a comprehensive, consistent, flexible, and dynamic regulatory approach" to the issue of emergency preparedness.

    Though the 453-page document (.pdf) includes provisions that vary depending on the type of provider or supplier, the rules are built around 4 basic standards: risk assessment and planning, development of policies and procedures, establishment of a communication plan, and ongoing training and testing of staff.

    CMS writes that the concerns about preparedness were brought to light after the 9/11 attacks, with further weaknesses exposed during hurricane Katrina, tornado events in Missouri and Oklahoma, and the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. "We concluded that current emergency preparedness requirements are not comprehensive enough to address the complexities of actual emergencies," the rules state.

    The proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register on December 27. Public comments will be accepted for 60 days afterwards.

    APTA offers several resources at its disaster preparedness webpage as well as at its webpage focused on physical therapy in the emergency department.