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Gazzetta Medica Italiana Archivio per le Scienze Mediche 2013 July-August;172(7-8):587-94

language: English

Fall risk types and the fall prevalence rates of Japanese community-dwelling elderly

Demura S. 1, Sato S. 2, Shin S. 3, Sugiura H. 1, Uchiyama M. 4

1 Graduate School of Natural Science and Technology, Kanazawa University, Kakuma, Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan;
2 Life-Long Sports Core, Kanazawa,Institute of Technology, Nonoichi, Ishikawa, Japan;
3 Gifu University, Graduate School of Medicine Gifu, Japan;
4 Akita Prefectural University, Akita, Japan


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Aim: Aim of the study was to identify common fall risk types and their fall prevalence rates from a questionnaire-based fall risk assessment on the community-dwelling elderly.
Methods: Participants were 1,122 elderly aged 60 and over, living independently in a community. Fall risk characteristics were assessed by Demura’s fall risk assessment, which is composed of 50 items representing five risk factors: “potential for falling”, “physical function”, “disease and physical symptoms”, “environment”, and “behavior and character”. We examined the presence or absence of high-risk symptom for each risk factor, and calculated what fall risk types more commonly appear in the population and their fall prevalence rates.
Results: Although 41.6% of the participants had no high-risk symptoms in any risk factor, about 25% of them had more than one high-risk symptom. Over 70% of the elderly with double high-risk symptoms had risks in physical function and behavior and character, and 79.3% of elderly with triple high-risk symptoms had risks in physical function, disease and physical symptoms, and behavior and character. The prevalence rates increased as the number of high-risk symptoms increased (none, 9.6%; single, 14.4%; double, 19.8%; triple, 45.1%; and quadruple, 80.0%).
Conclusion: About 40% of the community-dwelling elderly have no high-risk symptom for any fall risk factor, and one quarter of them have more than one high-risk symptom. Among the elderly with any high-risk symptom, many have high-risk symptoms regarding physical function and behavior and character, and their fall prevalence rates tend to be higher than other fall risk types.

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