Author(s): Kannus P, Parkkari J, Koskinen S, Niemi S, Palvanen M,
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Abstract CONTEXT: Although various fall-induced injuries and deaths among older adults are increasing, little is known about the epidemiology of these events. OBJECTIVE: To determine the trends in the number and incidence of fall-induced injuries and deaths of older adults in a well-defined white population. DESIGN AND SETTING: Secular trend analysis of the population of Finland, using the Finnish National Hospital Discharge Register and the Official Cause-of-Death Statistics of Finland. PARTICIPANTS: All persons aged 50 years or older who were admitted to hospitals in Finland for primary treatment of a first fall-induced injury from the years of 1970 to 1995, and for comparison, all fall-induced deaths in the same age group from the years 1971 to 1995. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: The number and the age-specific and age-adjusted incidence rate (per 100000 persons) of fall-induced injuries and deaths in each year of the study. RESULTS: For the study period, both the total and population-adjusted number (per 100000 persons) of Finns aged 50 years or older with fall-induced injury increased substantially. Total fall-induced injuries increased from 5622 in 1970 to 21 574 in 1995, a 284\% increase, and the rate increased from 494 to 1398 per 100000 persons, a 183\% increase. The age-adjusted incidence also increased in both women (from 648 in 1970 to 1469 in 1995, a 127\% increase) and men (from 434 in 1970 to 972 in 1995, a 124\% increase). Moreover, the number of deaths due to falls in the overall population increased from 441 in 1971 to 793 in 1995, an 80\% increase, and the rate increased from 38 in 1971 to 51 in 1995, a 34\% increase. However, after age adjustment the incidence of fall-induced death did not show a clear upward trend. CONCLUSIONS: In a well-defined white population, the number of older persons with fall-induced injuries is increasing at a rate that cannot be explained simply by demographic changes. Preventive measures should be adopted to control the increasing burden of these injuries. Fortunately, the age-adjusted incidence of the fall-induced deaths shows no increasing trend over time.
This article was published in JAMA
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research