Arthritis Raises Fall Risk
People ages 45 to 64 years who have arthritis may be at greater risk for falls, as well as fall-related injuries.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality among older adults, with more than one in three older adults falling each year. Falls among older adults can result in hip fractures, brain injuries, decline in functional abilities, and reductions in social and physical activities. Arthritis joint pain and stiffness can make it harder to balance and sap lower-body strength. Data compiled by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a telephone survey, reveals that while a third of adults 65 and older with arthritis said they had taken a tumble in the previous year, slightly more of those ages 45 to 64 reported falling. The middle-aged group also reported more injuries from falls; 17%, as compared to 12% in the older group. Warning that: “The number of adults with arthritis is expected to increase steadily through at least 2030, putting more adults at higher risk for falls and fall injuries<’ the study authors urge for: “Efforts to address this growing public health problem require raising awareness about the link between arthritis and falls, evaluating evidence-based arthritis interventions for their effects on falls, and implementing fall prevention programs more widely through changes in clinical and community practice.”
Kamil E. Barbour, Judy A. Stevens, Charles G. Helmick, Yao-Hua Luo, Louise B. Murphy, Jennifer M. Hootman, et al. “Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults with Arthrititis"