Frailty increases the risk that older Mexican women will fall down, new research shows. The finding, published in the Journal of Aging and Health, points to increased risk of injury among older people who are not physically fit.
Scientists from the University of Texas Medical Branch evaluated fall occurences in 847 Mexican Americans who participated the Hispanic Established Population for the Epidemiological Study of the Elderly. To determine fall occurence, the researchers looked at several variables including, frailty, sociodemographics, functional and health status and history of falls.
Frail, Elderly Women Are Prone To Falls
The study revealed some interesting facts about falls among the elderly population. For example, older Mexican American women had a greater tendency to fall. They also were more likely to be unmarried, in poor health, had functional problems e.g. difficulty maintaining balance and a history of falling down.
The University of Texas Medical Branch study re-iterates the dangers that falls pose to senior citizens. Frail people are more susceptible to injury and broken bones.
The Study of Osteoporotic Fractures (SOF) which was funded by the National Institutes of Health discovered that women with lower bone mineral density, low body mass index and poor health were more likely to suffer hip fractures than healthy women (read my article "Hip Fractures In Older Women Increases Short Term Mortality Risk" to learn more about this).
What Can Be Done To Reduce Fall Injuries?
Dr. Raphael Samper-Ternent of the University of Texas Medical Branch said: "Frailty increases the odds of falls in older Mexican Americans."
Indeed, poor health and frailty are often cited as factors contributing to falling injuries among the elderly. As people age, their physical strength and coordination decline. Many also suffer from visual impairments which cause them to trip over objects.
Some health experts suggest that senior citizens can reduce their risk of falling by having annual physical and eye exams, participate in physical exercise and to eliminate slippery and wet surfaces in their environment (read the article "Fall Prevention For Seniors" for a list of fall prevention tips).
The University of Texas Medical Branch concluded that "Interventions tailored to reduce fall incidence and improve health care quality for older Mexican Americans are needed."
For more information on fall prevention, visit NIHSeniorHealth. This website, which is maintained by the National Institutes of Health, is a reference guide containing fall prevention tips for senior citizens.
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Samper-Ternent, R., Karmarkar, A., Graham, J., Reistetter, T., & Ottenbacher, K. (2011). Frailty as a Predictor of Falls in Older Mexican Americans Journal of Aging and Health DOI: 10.1177/0898264311428490
"Watch Your Step! Frail Mexican American Women Are Prone To Falls" copyright © 2011 Living Fit, Healthy and Happy(SM). All Rights Reserved.