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Risk of Death After Falls Increasing for U.S. Elderly

Growing life expectancy puts elderly with chronic diseases at risk

FRIDAY, Nov. 17 (HealthDay News) -- As more Americans live longer with chronic diseases, accidental falls pose an increasing mortality risk for patients aged 65 and older, according to a report in the Nov. 17 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, compared data on fall-related deaths and hospitalizations for hip fractures between 1993 and 2003 with non-fatal fall-related injury rates from 2001 to 2005.

The researchers found that between 1993 and 2003, the fall-related death or hip fracture hospitalization rate, adjusted for age, increased 55.3 percent overall for older men and women. The rate increased faster for men. Men's death rates grew 45.3 percent, from 31.8 to 46.2 per 100,000 people; women's death rates increased 59.5 percent, from 19.5 to 31.1 per 100,000.

The hip fracture hospitalization rate for women was 52 to 119 percent higher than the rate in men, the researchers report. Men's rate increased 5.7 percent; women's rate dropped 20.8 percent.

The researchers suggest that screening and treatment for osteoporosis be considered for men. "The findings indicate that rates of fatal falls increased significantly among both men and women but were consistently higher among men," the authors conclude.

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