Falls Have Become the Leading Cause of Injury Deaths for Seniors

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Fall-related death rates for men and women 65 years and older increased significantly from 1993 to 2003, according to a report released today in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

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In 2003, more than 13,700 older adults died from falls, making them the leading cause of injury deaths among people 65 and older. From 1993 to 2003 fatal falls increased by more than 55 percent - with more men (46.2 percent) dying from falls than women (31.1 percent). The report also indicates that in 2003 almost 1.8 million seniors were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls and more than 460,000 were hospitalized. In 2000, the direct medical costs for falls among older adults were approximately $19 billion.

"Fall death rates have increased faster than fall injury rates. In large part, this is because people are living longer, and many of our seniors now are older and frailer. They need our help to prevent potentially fatal fall injuries," said Dr. Judy Stevens, an epidemiologist in CDC's Injury Center and author of the report.

Falling Injuries

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