Falls a Common Problem Among Stroke Survivors

More than one-third in study had fallen after stroke; of these, 37 percent required medical attention

FRIDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Falls among older people are common during the first few months after a stroke, and a considerable number of the falls result in injuries that require medical treatment, according to research published online May 15 in the journal Stroke.

Ngaire Kerse, Ph.D., of the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,104 subjects -- mean age 70.7 years -- who answered questions six months after having a stroke about their history of falls.

The investigators found that 407 (37 percent) of stroke survivors had fallen in the six months since their stroke, compared to 314 (28 percent) participants who had fallen before their stroke. Of those who fell following the stroke, 37 percent received medical attention for an injury from the fall, and 8 percent incurred a fracture, the report indicates. Depressive symptoms, disability, previous falls and older age were all associated with falls.

"In summary, our study confirms that falls and fall-related injury are major morbidity issues among patients with stroke. Falls prevention interventions should be emphasized as part of routine stroke rehabilitation services," the authors write.

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