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What is physiological reserve

Mosqueda (2004) made a distinction in physiological reserve over time among peoplewithout disability, with people aging with disability, and those with injury-related disability.

Her model is instructive. Mosqueda defines physiologic reserve as the buffer that allows us to cope with and recover from stressors. So it is that a 25-yearold-man can outrun a 75-year-old-man. The 75 year old – even in good shape – has less physiologic reserve. In Mosqueda’s figure, Line A represents physiologic reserve among people without disability as they age. People reach their peak physiological reserve about age 25. Then, an often slow, reasonably predictable decline occurs. The steepness of the decline may be predicted by health behaviors – smoking, nutrition, and exercise. For people born with a disability, say cerebral palsy (Line B), peak physiologic reserve may not reach that of a person without CP. Nevertheless, after achieving a peakcapacity, that capacity begins to decline with age. The steepness of the slope may be predicted by overall health and wellbeing. The aim of public health, in this case, would be to mitigate rapid decline through exercise, conditioning, nutrition, and mood. Technology might play a part in reducing decline as well. Line C represents people who sustain injury. In this particular model the injury occurs at about age 25. The steepness of the decline portrays the severity of the injury. Injury can occur at any age. This model is useful because it is reasonably generalizable across conditions.

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