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Risk of Hospitalized Fall Injury Up for Seniors With Diabetes
Risk factors include history of falling, poor standing balance, HbA1c ≥8 percent

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Older adults with diabetes, especially those treated with insulin, are at increased risk of injurious falls requiring hospitalization, according to a study published online Oct. 15 in Diabetes Care.

In an effort to examine whether older adults with diabetes are at increased risk of injurious falls requiring hospitalization, Rebecca K. Yau, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues used data from the longitudinal Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study involving 3,075 adults aged 70 to 79 years at baseline.

At baseline, 719 participants had diabetes, 117 of whom were using insulin. The researchers found that 293 participants were hospitalized for a fall-related injury, including 71 with diabetes and 16 using insulin. After adjustment for age, race, sex, body mass index, and education, diabetes correlated with a significantly higher rate of injurious falls requiring hospitalization (hazard ratio, 1.48). Compared to participants without diabetes, the hazard ratio for those using insulin was 3.00. Some of the increased risk associated with diabetes and insulin-treated diabetes was explained by further adjustment for potential intermediaries such as fainting in the past year, standing balance score, cystatin C level, and number of prescription medications (hazard ratio following adjustment: 1.41 for diabetes and 2.24 for insulin-treated diabetes). Risk factors for an injurious fall requiring hospitalization among participants with diabetes included a history of falling, poor standing balance score, and hemoglobin A1c level ≥8.0 percent.

"Improving balance and maintaining adequate glycemic control in older adults with diabetes, especially those with a history of falls, may reduce the risk of a serious fall injury," the authors write.

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