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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Senior Women Who Survive Breast Cancer Have a Greater Risk of Falling

Cancer therapies may affect balance, says new study in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

March 10, 2011 – Researchers have found that women who are senior citizens and survived breast cancer appear to fall more often than their peers. They note that the combined effects of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy may increase the risk of bone fractures in breast cancer survivors.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Trauma Patients – Especially Seniors - Have Higher Rate of Death for Years Following Injury

Age strongly predicted risk of death as did discharge to a skilled nursing facility; Medicare on risk list, too. See video - March 8, 2011


Exercising to Piano Music Appears to Help Reduce Falls Among Senior Citizens

Program may help fall prevention and rehabilitation in community-based setting such as senior centers

Nov. 23, 2010


Even Short Falls Can Be Deadly For Senior Citizens Age 70 and Older

These elderly people are three times as likely to die following low-level falls

 

Nov. 1, 2010


See Links to more news on falls below this news report.


 
 

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Investigators found that 58% of breast cancer survivors had experienced a fall in the previous year and almost half (47%) fell within 6 months after joining the study, a rate nearly double the 25% to 30% annual fall rate reported for community-dwelling older adults over 65 years of age.

The researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University Knight Cancer Institute, Portland, asked post-menopausal breast cancer survivors whether they had fallen in the past year and then tracked their falls over a six-month study period.

Researchers measured a comprehensive set of neuromuscular and balance characteristics known to be associated with falls in 59 study participants. They found that only balance discriminated breast cancer survivors who fell from those who did not.

The study findings also suggest that the balance problems may have been related to changes in the vestibular system that is associated with chemotherapy treatment.

The vestibular system beginning in the inner ear is responsible for maintaining balance, posture, and the body's orientation in space, according to MedicineNet.com. This system also regulates locomotion and other movements and keeps objects in visual focus as the body moves. The system also includes parts of the brain that respond to information from the vestibular apparatus in the inner ear.

The study is scheduled for publication in the April issue of the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

"Our study is the first to consider how breast cancer treatment may increase fall risk by using a comprehensive set of objective measures of fall risk and by exploring mediators of the treatment-falls relationship," commented Kerri M. Winters-Stone, PhD, Associate Professor and Associate Scientist, Oregon Health & Science University, School of Nursing and a member of the Knight Cancer Institute.

"Our findings suggest that recently treated postmenopausal breast cancer survivors have higher rates of falling compared with population averages for community-dwelling older adults. Balance disturbances may explain how treatment could have contributed to falls in breast cancer survivors."

She also added, "Falls in breast cancer survivors are understudied and deserve more attention, particularly in light of the increase in fractures after breast cancer treatment and the relationship of falls to fractures. Our findings add to growing evidence that fall risk is increased in breast cancer survivors and that vestibular function may underpin associations between breast cancer treatment and falls."

Links to More Archived Reports on Senior Citizens and Risk of Falls

Failing to Take Medications Regularly as Prescribed Increases Falls by Senior Citizens

Health care providers should discuss this subject with their patients - May 19, 2010


Osteoporosis Drug, Forteo, Appears to Heal Common Injury to Senior Citizens From Falls

Newly approved drug improves healing after rotator cuff surgery; common problem for falling seniors and young athletes - March 10, 2010


Elderly Women Right Up There with Young Male Athletes in a Risk of Shoulder Dislocation

New reports has more evidence of the serious consequences of falls by senior citizens – women in particular - March 1, 2010


Falls by Senior Citizens Caused by Poor Central and Side Vision, Study Finds

Recommends advising patients 60 and older, even with normal vision, on their increased fall risk and need to take extra precautions

Feb. 1, 2010

 


Fractures that Plague Senior Citizens Can be Reduced by Taking Calcium with Vitamin D

Large study supports growing consensus that combined calcium and vitamin D is more effective than vitamin D alone in reducing fractures

Jan. 14, 2010


Severe, Chronic Pain in Multiple Areas Found to Increase Risk of Falls in Senior Citizens

‘Controlled trial is needed to determine whether improved pain control could reduce risk for falls among older patients with chronic pain’

Nov. 30, 2009


Antidepressants and Sedatives Associated With Risk of Falls for Older Americans

Over 30% of senior citizens (older than 65) will fall at least once a year; falls are the fifth-leading cause of death in the developed world

Nov. 23, 2009


Senate Says First Day of Fall Should Highlight Prevention of Falls for U.S. Senior Citizens

Senate Resolution targets preventing the leading cause of injuries for those 65 and older

Sept. 23, 2009


Senior Citizens Being Urged to Choose and Use Walkers and Canes Carefully

Proper fit and use may prevent some of the 47,000 annual ER visits by elderly who fall

July 14, 2009


Injuries Related to Walking Canes, Walkers are Sending 47,000 Senior Citizens a Year to ERs

Fractures most common injury for these falls; one in three injuries required hospitalization

June 30, 2009


When Seniors Lose Interest in Going Out, the Motor Skills that Took Them Decline Rapidly

One-point decrease on social activity scale was equivalent to being approximately five years older at the start of the study - risk of death, disability jump

June 22, 2009


Inner Ear Balance Disorders Come with Age; Major Cause of Falls by Senior Citizens

Vestibular disorders are most common cause of dizziness in older people, responsible for 50% of dizziness in elderly.

May 26, 2009


Senior Citizens ‘Inoculated’ Against Falling in Successful Research Project

Shows how brain develops fall prevention strategies that can be generalized to variety of conditions

Feb. 4, 2009


Physical and Cognitive Declines Increase with Age Due to Slow Decay of Nerve Insulation

Myelin breakdown is a process of aging underlying the erosion of physical skills and cognitive ability

Oct. 19, 2008


Sen. Mikulski Wins Again in Fight Against Senior Falls: Senate Adopts Awareness Day

National Falls Prevention Awareness Day was approved by Senate for September 22

Sept. 23, 2008


Elderly Women Increase Their Risk of Falling with Less Than Five Hours Sleep

About one-third of adults older than age 65 experience falls each year

Sept. 8, 2008


iShoe by MIT Student May Save Thousands of Senior Citizens from Deadly Falls

Future versions could help correct problems by providing sensory stimulation to the feet when the wearer is off-kilter

August 1, 2008


Senior Citizens Learning to Fall Like a Skydiver Can Reduce Hip Fractures by 70 Percent

Parachutist's landing best reduces hip impact whether you jumped from an airplane or tripped on a curb

July 7, 2008


Nearly 8,000 Senior Citizens Die from Traumatic Brain Injuries Following Falls

TBIs maybe missed or misdiagnosed among older adults but 56,000 hospitalized in 2005

July 2, 2008


Senior Citizens Having Problems with Balance, Walking Can Blame Their Brain

People with severe white matter changes were twice as likely to score poorly on the walking and balance tests

March 17, 2008


Risk of Falling Is Overlooked as the Major Cause of Fractures in the Elderly

Evidence says fall prevention can reduce falls by up to 50%

Jan. 18, 2008


Exercise Does Help Senior Citizens Improve Balance Says Data from 34 Studies

Rising from a chair and standing on one leg is enough to help

Oct. 17, 2007


Senior Citizens Improve Mobility Better With Balance Training than Tai Chi

Both reduce falls, more improvement from balance, stepping and mobility

December 11, 2006


Senior Citizens Gain Health, Independence, Balance with Exercise

Goal of study is prevention - keeping people out of nursing homes - Nov. 22, 2006

 

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