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Fatal falls more common among older men: CDC


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Older men are more likely to experience a fatal fall than similarly aged women, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Researchers looked at data from the 2020 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the 2021 National Vital Statistics System. They found that nearly 39,000 adults 65 and older died from an unintentional fall in 2021. Men had a higher death rate (91.4 per 100,000) than women (68.3).

Further, age-adjusted death rates were “significantly higher” among men than women in 34 states, compared with the previous year.

Approximately the same percentage of women (28.9%) and men (26.1%) reported falling in 2020.

The CDC recommends that older adults consult with their health care provider about screening for fall risks and assessing for fall risk factors. Interventions such as physical therapy, home modifications and medication management may lower the risk of falls.

The National Council on Aging says falls among older adults can occur for various reasons, including loss of balance and coordination as well as poor vision. In addition, some medications may cause dizziness.

Tips from the Ohio Department of Aging to help limit the risk of falling at home include:

  • Keep walkways clear of space heaters, cords and blankets. Use tape to secure throw rugs to the floor or remove them altogether.
  • Use the highest recommended lightbulb wattage for lamps, night lights and exterior lights.
  • Keep flashlights near doorways and staircases in case a power outage occurs.
  • Clean up anything you may track in from outside. Remove wet shoes when entering your home, and keep a chair and clean shoes or slippers near the door.

The report was published online in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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