Dr. Campbell: Falls are leading cause of injury, death in elderly Americans

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The leading cause of injury and death in older Americans has been determined to be falls, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control.

  1. What do we know about falls in the elderly?

In the last several years falls have been increasing.  According to a CDC report, there were more than 29 million falls in older Americans, leading to 7 million injuries in one year. Nearly 2.8 million of these patients were seen in ERs and resulted in 800,000 hospitalizations.

Twenty-seven thousand falls lead to death. As more Americans reach the age of 65, this problem appears to be growing very quickly.

Source: CDC 9/2016
Source: CDC 9/2016
  1. What injuries and illness are associated with falls? Why are older Americans more likely to have recurrent falls?

Broken bones are quite common—particularly hips, arms and wrists. Head injuries are also quite common. Once a person falls once, they are twice as likely to fall and suffer injury again.

Many older adults are afraid to tell physicians or family about a fall for fear of losing independence.

  1. What can we all do to PREVENT falls and injury –for ourselves or our aging parents and relatives?

Prevention is critical in order for us to reverse this trend. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Review medications with doctors for side effects that could cause dizziness
  • Remove throw rugs
  • Install handrails in bathroom
  • Get annual eye exams
  • Visit the shoe store and wear sturdy shoes

To get in touch with Dr. Campbell, you can head to his website, Facebook page or message him on Twitter. If there’s a topic you’d like to see Dr. Campbell cover, let us know by sending an email to newstips@wncn.com.

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