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Deaths from Falls Tripled In Older Americans, Finds New Research

“Deaths from falls may have increased because older people are living longer, living longer independently, and are living longer with chronic conditions.”

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According to new research, deaths caused by falls have tripled in older Americans in recent years, increasing to nearly 25,000 deaths annually.

These findings of new research highlight the importance of fall prevention. A separate study has found programs that focus on improving balance and muscle strength can be helpful in achieving the goal of fall prevention.

The findings of these two studies were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Although circumstances were not included in the data, those among the causes of death due to falls in older adults include traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures.

Study co-author and health scientist at the CDC Elizabeth Burns said, “Deaths from falls may have increased because older people are living longer, living longer independently, and are living longer with chronic conditions.”

She mentioned that some medications are also responsible for fall in older adults, which include prescription drugs affecting balance. Burns explained the research showed that the use of psychiatric medications causing vision problems and drowsiness has significantly increased among the elderly in recent years.

The new research included at least 16 years of statistical data on people aged 75. Deaths from fall increased up to 25,190 in 2016 from 8,600 in 2000. A separate data from the CDC showed that the numbers increased even higher in 2017, to more than 26,400 falls in older Americans.

The death rate from falls in the study doubled from 51 falls per 100,000 people to 122 falls per 100,000. The findings of the study echoed the studies of fatal fall trends in other European countries and the Netherlands.

“Weight-bearing exercise such as walking; balance exercises; and resistance exercises to strengthen muscles can also reduce risks for falls,” said Dr. Marco Pahor of the University of Florida.

The second study focused on the importance of exercises that include seated and standing leg lifts, knee bends, backward walking, and walking half an hour at least twice a week.

Dr. Pahor said many older adults are unaware of programs that can actually help them and prevent deaths from falls. Many communities in the United States offer fall prevention exercise programs at senior centers. Also, the National Council on Aging offers tips online to help old-age people.

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