Saturday, December 25, 2010

Exercise, vitamin D reduce falling risk

Regular exercising and consuming sufficient vitamin D supplements may prevent the number of falls in men and women aged 65 or more, a new study says.

Exercising or physical therapy can reduce the risk of falling in the elderly by 13%; as for the individuals who take Vitamin D supplements on daily bases, the risk is reduced by 17%, a new review of 54 studies by the US Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) revealed.

“Falls were the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries among persons 65 and older,” according to the report published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

About one in every three institutionalized people in this age group will fall in a given year, a condition which could lead to medical costs of as high as $43.8 billion by 2020 at the current rate of spending, the study said.

No significant risk reduction was observed with other interventions, such as vision correction, medication assessment, education and behavioral counseling, and making the home less hazardous, the researchers noted.

"Our evidence review shows that exercise and Vitamin D supplementation are the most effective primary care interventions to prevent falls.

This is important news because falls are extremely common in this population and they are the leading cause of death and injury for the elderly," said senior researcher Yvonne Michael.

Urging physicians to add exercising and vitamin D consumption to their regular treatment plan, she added," We can't point to just one thing that is the cause of a fall in an older adult.

A number of factors can come together to lead to a fall." “We need to help primary care clinicians find better ways to prevent falls, and this review will help to do that," Michael concluded.