CDC: Falls are Primary Threat to Senior's Health, Mortality

Falls cause millions of injuries and soaring health care costs, CDC report shows
Falls cause millions of injuries and soaring health care costs, CDC report shows

HealthDay News — Falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older people in the United States, according to research published in the September 23 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the CDC analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. The scope of the study was limited to older adults (age 65+) in all 50 states and the District of Columbia who were asked questions about falls. 

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In 2014, 28.7% of respondents reported falling at least once in the preceding 12 months, resulting in an estimated 29 million falls. Of those reporting falls, 37.5% reported at least one fall requiring medical treatment or activity restriction for at least one day, an estimated 7.0 million fall injuries. Falls cost Medicare an estimated $31.3 billion a year.

"Older adult falls are increasing and, sadly, often herald the end of independence," Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, director of the CDC, said in an agency news release. "Health care providers can make fall prevention a routine part of care in their practice, and older adults can take steps to protect themselves."

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