BOSTON -- Roughly one in 10 adult Americans find their walking slowed by progressive chronic conditions like arthritis, back problems, heart and lung diseases or diabetes. Lisa Iezzoni, M.D., M.Sc., knows this first hand. Living with multiple sclerosis, she is a familiar sight on her motorized scooter at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and around the Boston area.
Happy to answer curious passers-by, Iezzoni began to wonder whether physicians or other health care professionals received similar inquiries. That started her down the road to "When Walking Fails: Mobility Problems of Adults with Chronic Conditions," published by the University of California Press.
Turning the tables, she interviewed people with walking problems to find out the barriers they faced and how they meet those challenges. Combining personal interviews with survey data, she explores how mobility problems affect a person's daily activities, how the health care system addresses mobility issues and the need to inform policy makers about areas where changes will accommodate people with difficulty walking.
"Almost everybody is touched at some point in their lives either by their own mobility problems or by a close relative with trouble walking," Iezzoni says. "Improving people's ability to move freely and independently will enhance overall health and quality of life, not only for these persons but also for society as a whole."