Among older men, the death of a loved one, as well as serious financial problems, significantly raise the risk of falls in the year following the incident. Howard A. Fink, from the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA), and colleagues completed a study involving 5,994 men, ages 65 years and older, who were enrolled in the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) study in six locations across the United States. 5,125 participated in a second study visit and answered questions on stressful life events in the prior year. A further subset of 4,981 men reported complete data on falls for one year after the second visit. During the second visit, participants were asked their marital status, and if widowed, their spouse's date of death. They were also asked to report occurrence of any of the following stressful life events: serious illness or accident of wife/partner; death of other close relative or close friend; separation from child, close friend, or other relative on whom the participant depended on for help; loss of pet; given up important hobby or interest; serious financial trouble; move or change in reside file:///Users/heatherhoyt/Documents/ nce. Following the second visit, the participants were contacted every four months for one year regarding falls or fractures. Among the 4,981 men with complete stressful life event and falls data, 27.7% fell and 14.7% fell multiple times during the year after visit two. Among men who reported stressful life events, falls occurred in 29.9% of cases where one type of stressful event had been reported; 35.5% of cases with two types of stressful events, and 39.9% of cases where three or more types of stressful life events were reported. In age-adjusted analyses, any stressful life event was associated with a 41% increase in risk of fall, and a nearly two-fold increase in risk for multiple falls in the following year. However, there was no statistically significant increase of risk for fractures. The study authors conclude that: “[among] older men, stressful life events significantly increased risk of incident falls independent of other explanatory variables.”
Howard A. Fink, Michael A. Kuskowski, Lynn M. Marshall. “Association of stressful life events with incident falls and fractures in older men: the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men (MrOS) Study.” Age Ageing, September 3, 2013.
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