Older men have a higher risk of falling in the year after they go through a stressful period in their life, such as the death of a partner or serious money issues, according to recent research published in US News and World Report.
The study had 5000 men who were 65 or older at six locations int eh US. The researchers asked if they had had any of the following recent stressful events:
- Serious illness or accident of their partner
- Death of another close friend or relative
- Separation from their child
- Loss of a pet
- Serious financial problems
- Changing residence
- Having to give up an interest or hobby
In the year after they were interviewed, 28% of the men fell and 15% fell several times. Falls also were reported by 30% of men after one stressful event, and in 35% of those who had had two stressful events.
The researchers adjusted for age, and then concluded that one of the above stressful life events is associated with a 40% increase in the risk of falling. Those people also were twice as likely to fall several times in the following year. But there was no statistically significant increase in risk of fracture.
The author of the study, Dr. Howard Fink, of the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis, reported that there are several possible reasons why stressful life events could boost the risk of falling. Sudden emotions that are triggered by the events could reduced balance or visual attention. Or, inflammation could lead to loss of muscle mass and physical problems, resulting in a fall.
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