ATLANTA (UPI) — Many people who fall, even if not injured, develop a fear of falling and limit their physical activity, increasing their risk of falling, U.S. officials said.
Dr. Judy Stevens of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta says in 2010, more than 20,000 older adults died from injuries from falls and in any given year about one in three people age 65 and older will have a fall.
“Most falls don’t cause injuries. But one of five falls causes a serious injury like a head injury or a fracture. And each year, there are about 260,000 hip fractures,” Stevens said in a statement.
Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries. In 2010, 2.3 million nonfatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments, and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized, the CDC said.
In 2010, the direct medical cost of falls, adjusted for inflation, was $30 billion.
Stevens said falls commonly have more than one cause. These include muscle weakness, poor balance, a tripping hazard such as a throw rug, side effects of some medications and not being able to see well.