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Single or frequent falls lead to increased morbidity due to fall-related injury, fear of falling, impairments in quality of life and loss of independence. To assess the impact of falls, prevalence data are essential.
In 2006, a telephone survey was performed in a random sample of 1270 inhabitants of the city of Herne, Germany, aged 40 years or older. Participants were asked about falls during the previous 4 weeks and 6 and 12 months, respectively. A fall was defined as an unexpected event in which the individual comes to rest on the ground, floor or a lower level. Participants were also asked about pain and whether or not a medical diagnosis of osteoporosis had ever been made. Standardized prevalences and odds ratios (OR) with 95 % confidence interval are reported.
In total, 862 (67.9 %) adults participated. Participants were significantly older than non-participants and more often female than male. Prevalences standardized for the population of Herne for at least one fall within the previous 4 weeks or 12 months or two or more falls within 12 months, respectively, were 3.1 %, 12.1 %, and 4.5 %. Women were more often affected than men. A total of 2.3 % participants reported both at least one fall and a medical diagnosis of osteoporosis. The prevalence of falls increased with increasing age and was also related to musculoskeletal pain.
Our estimates indicate that single and multiple falls affect a substantial proportion of adults in the urban population. Risk groups such as older adults and females with osteoporosis might represent a target group when considering measures for fall prevention.
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The prevalence of falls in adults aged 40 years or older in an urban, German population
Results from a telephone survey
Dr. U. Thiem
- Springer Berlin Heidelberg