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Different Scales Say Different Things

Posted Aug 08 2010 8:13am

Just took three of the “fall predictor in Parkinson’s disease” tests outlined in this article .  Two of the tests say I’m at a high risk of falling.  One says I’m a low fall risk.

Who should a boy believe?

Took the “Timed Up and Go” test.  Measured out a spot 10 feet away from a chair.  Used a timer as I rose, walked to the chair at my normal , and sat back down.  Did it three times to come up with an average of 18.23 seconds.  That’s 5 seconds longer than the “cutoff” for fall risk.  In the “Timed Up and Go Manual,” you walk the 10 feet and back carrying a full cup of water.  The cutoff is 14.5 seconds.  I did it in 25.2 seconds.  In the “Timed Up and Go Cognitive,” you walk the 10 feet and back while counting backwards from a random number.  The cutoff is 15 seconds.  I did it in 20.7 seconds.

Then, there’s the Berg Balance Test.  This test kinda centers on the things I can still do well, like get out of a chair without using my hands, look backwards over my shoulders while standing, moving from one chair to another and picking up something from the floor.  The only areas on the BBT were I sucked were the time it took to rotate 360 degrees, placing alternate feet on a step stool, standing with one foot in front of the other, and standing on one foot.

Then I took the Tinetti Assessment Tool.  This scores on things like how safely you can sit in a chair, how you get in and out of a chair, your immediate balance when standing, your standing balance, whether you stand steady or fall when nudged in the , etc.  It also assesses your gait.  Whether or not you hesitate on starting, your step height and length, whether or not your steps are of the same length, whether or not you walk with wide stance, and whether or not you sway when you walk.  I had a gait score of 6, a balance score of 10, for a total of 16.  According to this scale, anything below a 19 means you are at a high risk of falls.

I haven’t had a serious stumble since June 25, and that happened while doing balance exercises.  I come close every day, but so far, so good.

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