Researchers reveal up to fifty percent more risk to suffer disabling injury
According to the CDC falls and fall related injuries among the most serious and common medical problems experienced by older adults. Nearly one-third of older persons fall each year, and half of them fall more than once. One out of three adults aged 65 and older falls each year. Falls in the elderly are due to numerous factors including vision, balance and osteoporosis.
Falls in the elderly are commonly believed to happen to those seniors thin and frail. Now researchers from Syracuse University in New York, that obesity in seniors can lead to disabling falls.
Christine L. Himes, Maxwell Professor of Sociology and associate Dr. Sandra L. Reynolds,PhD of Syracuse University in a eight year long study followed 10,775 adults aged 65 and older to examine any association between body mass index and the severity of injuries encountered after falling.
Among the participants a total of 9,621 falls occurred which resulted in over 3,100 serious injuries that required medical attention.
The findings of the study had found that obese older adults had a 12 to 50 percent greater chance to suffer a fall over two years in comparison to those seniors of normal weight.
The study had also revealed the risk of falling had increased with the level of obesity. Among those with a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or higher (around 100 lbs for a male and 80 lbs overweight for females) had a 50% higher risk for falls.
BMI or body mass index, the amount of body fat you have based on your height and weight.
The participants were surveyed every two years between 1998 and 2006, a total of 9,621 falls were reported resulting in over 3,100 injuries severe enough to require medical attention.
Among the participants that did endure a fall, 23% were obese in comparison to slightly under 20% of older adults who had no falls during the study.
Researchers accounted for health conditions (such as arthritis, stroke, diabetes) associated to both obesity and risk of falling. However, obesity by itself was still associated to a higher risk of falls.
When to risk of being injured by falls, those who were most severely obese (BMI 40 or higher) had a one-third less likely chance of being injured in comparison to normal weight older adults who fell.
Mild obesity did not have the protective effect.
Among participants with a BMI of 30 to 34.9 had a 17% more likely chance to report a disability after a fall in comparison to those with normal weight.
According to researchers in general obese people could be more vulnerable to taking a fall than those who are thinner. However, their extra padding and denser bones may provide some protection from injury.
If a fall should occur in overweight or obese people which results in a serious injury such as a fracture it could take a much longer time to recover and need longer bed rest which could cause further complications in itself.
Professor Himes states “It’s just harder for obese people to recover from injury,” Himes said. “They’re going to be in poorer physical shape to begin with.” “This is just another reason that obesity needs to be considered an important public health problem.”
Researchers suggest that those who are elderly to maintain a healthy weight as they become older or decrease excessive weight if they are overweight or obese.
Mild exercises may decrease the risk for falls. Yoga programs geared to the elderly can help in fall prevention. In 2008, researchers had found that yoga can improve balance, stability and aides in fall prevention. Tai Chi has also shown promising results in studies to improve balance and reduce falls.
Acupuncture treatments can decrease pain such as from arthritis and osteoporosis when the pain is severe enough to cause falls.
Chiropractic has a broad range of benefits for seniors. These benefits include increase range of motion, balance and coordination along with pain relief from arthritis, osteoporosis and more, increases overall health and quality of life.
Seniors in which receive regular chiropractic care have an increase range of motion in spine and limbs. This results in seniors being able to do activities that once were impossible. Most seniors have notice an improvement in balance and coordination after treatment.
In Detroit or surrounding areas
YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit
1401 Broadway, Suite 3A
Detroit, MI 48226
Detroit Community Acupuncture
4100 Woodward Avenue
535 Griswold Street
A & L Chiropractic
24281 Middlebelt Road