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Ann Geriatr Med Res  <  Volume 14(1); 2010 <  Articles

J Korean Geriatr Soc 2010; 14(1): 8-17  https://doi.org/10.4235/jkgs.2010.14.1.8
Falls in a Proportional Region Population in Korean Elderly: Incidence, Consequences, and Risk Factors
Jae-Young Lim, MD1,2, Won-Beom Park, MD3, Min-Kyun Oh, MD4, Eun Kyoung Kang, MD5,
Nam-Jong Paik, MD1,2
1Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul,
2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam,
3Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Incheon Sarang Hospital, Incheon,
4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Gyeongsang National University College of Medicine, Jinju, 5Seoul Bukbu Geriatric Hospital, Seoul, Korea
Received: December 20, 2009; Accepted: March 25, 2010; Published online: March 1, 2010.
© The Korean Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved.

Abstract
Background: To investigate the occurrence of falls and their consequences in a representative population and to identify risk factors of falls in the elderly.
Methods: The study participants were community-dwelling elderly people aged 65 years or old as a population based sample of one large city. A total of 828 people 65 years or older participated in this study. They were interviewed over the telephone by a trained interviewer using a structured questionnaire to obtain a fall history and details of their most recent fall including date, time, place, circumstances, and associated injury. As for risk factors for falls, we asked about living arrangement (with family or alone), alcohol intake, exercise, visual and hearing impairments, memory and sensory problems, lower limb weakness, and arthritis symptoms. Fear of falling and fear-related activity restriction were also evaluated.
Results: The incidence of falls during the last one year was 13.0%. Women experienced falls more frequently. Falls occurred mainly in spring and summer and from 10 AM to 3 PM. Common causes of falls were slipping and tripping. 14.9% of those who fell suffered consequent fractures. Being female was a significant risk factor for falls; and females tended to get injured more severely following a fall. During the recent one year, decreased proprioception in the lower extremity was a significant risk factor for falls. Those with histories of falls, and especially women, tended to limit their activities due to the fear of falling.
Conclusion: Overall, it appears that elderly women are more greatly affected by falls at several levels. Female participants fell more frequently and suffered more severe consequences. Fall-related injuries and risk factors for falls disproportionately affected women. And, being female and any amount of decreased sensation in the feet were significant risk factors for falls.
Keywords: Fall, Risk factors, Aged


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