Arthritis Increases Risk of Falls, Says CDC

CDC: Those With Arthritis Face Higher Risk of Falls
CDC: Those With Arthritis Face Higher Risk of Falls

(HealthDay News) — Americans with arthritis are at higher risk for falls and fall-related injuries than those without the condition, according to a study published in the May 2 issue of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The findings are based on 2012 data from a yearly state-based telephone survey on behavioral risk factors.

Rates of falls and fall-related injuries over the study's 12-month period were higher among middle-aged and older adults with arthritis in every state and the District of Columbia, researcher Kamil Barbour, PhD, of the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues found. For a single fall, the rates among adults with arthritis and those without arthritis were 15.5% and 12.1%, respectively. For two or more falls, the rates were about 21% for people with arthritis compared with 9% of those without the condition.

In terms of fall-related injuries, the investigators found that about 16% of people with arthritis sustained injuries, vs. 6.5% of people who were arthritis-free. Adults with arthritis were 1.3 times more likely to have one fall, 2.4 times more likely to have two or more falls, and 2.5 times more likely to suffer fall-related injuries, according to a CDC news release.

Health care and public health providers need to boost awareness about the increased risk of falls associated with arthritis, increase the number of fall-prevention programs and assess current arthritis treatments for their effect on falls, the study authors suggest.

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