What Increases The Risk of Death In Those over 65?

Among people over 65, low-trauma falls that result in a fracture increase the risk of death for at least five years after the fall. For a hip fracture, the risk of death persists for ten years.

 

The results of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association produced some interesting facts about low-trauma fractures in those over 65. But what is more interesting is that the study population all had osteoporosis, in many cases unrecognized.

 

In one of my previous blogs I wrote about osteoporosis, so I won’t repeat that information here. But let me just re-emphasize that osteoporosis is a growing problem and one that should be taken seriously. It can be prevented or at least postponed.

 

This blog is about falls in older individuals.

 

Every fall by an older individual should be taken seriously, even if it doesn’t result in injury. A fall may be the first sign of an underlying medical or psychological condition. Some of these include: diabetes, arthritis, normal pressure hydrocephalus, dementia, postural hypotension, and Parkinson’s disease.

 

A fall may also indicate that the individual needs a review of the medications being taken, even the over-the-counter ones. Finally, a fall may indicate that the individual is not getting sufficient exercise and, as a result, has developed weak muscles.

 

Falls are not a normal part of aging. Yet, every year more that a third of people over 65 experience a fall. Many of these could have been prevented by lifestyle or environmental changes.

 

Every fall requires investigation to determine its cause. It’s not the fact of the fall that counts, it’s the why.

 

Read what Senior Health has to say about falls at http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/toc.html

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Mary Lou Bernardo, PhD, MSN

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