Diabetes increases the risk of falls

Thursday, 24 December 2020

Researchers in Denmark recently discovered that diabetes is linked to an increased risk of falls.

Type 1 diabetes is linked to a 33% increase in the risk of falls, while type 2 diabetes is linked to a 19% increased risk of falls.

The fall risk for people with diabetes is higher because their blood glucose fluctuates, they can have health complications, and often use more medication than the general population without diabetes.

The aim of the research

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

The study aimed to estimate the risk of falls and the risk factors linked to increased falls in people with diabetes compared with the general population.

The second aim was to estimate fall-related injuries including fractures and where in the body they occurred compared.

The data

The data was taken from the Nationwide Danish National Patient Register.

The team identified 12,975 people with type 1 diabetes and 407,099 people with type 2 diabetes and matched a control group from the general population.

The risk factors for falls

They found type 1 diabetes was linked to a 33% increased risk of a first fall, and type 2 diabetes a 19% increased risk.

Other risk factors for those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes included:

  • being female
  • being aged over 65 years
  • use of selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) generally used to treat depression
  • use opioids
  • a history of alcohol abuse. This near doubling of risk).

Increased risk of fractures

People with type 2 diabetes also suffered an increased incidence of fractures when compared with the general population.

There was an increased risk of fractures of the hip and femur, bones in the arm (humerus and radius) and skull/face.

People with type 1 diabetes also had an increased risk of fractures, but only at the hip and femoral region.

The team says older people with diabetes need to pay more attention to the risk factors for falls. Improving strength and balance can help manage these risks.

If you’re interested in improving your strength and balance check out these handy tips and exercises.

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