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Risk factors for incident falls in older men and women: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

Risk factors for incident falls in older men and women: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Risk factors for incident falls in older men and women: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
Background: falls are a major cause of disability and death in older people, particularly women. Cross-sectional surveys suggest that some risk factors associated with a history of falls may be sex-specific, but whether risk factors for incident falls differ between the sexes is unclear. We investigated whether risk factors for incident falls differ between men and women.

Methods: participants were 3298 people aged ≥60 who took part in the Waves 4-6 surveys of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. At Wave 4, they provided information about sociodemographic, lifestyle, behavioural and medical factors and had their physical and cognitive function assessed. Data on incident falls during the four-year follow-up period was collected from them at Waves 5 and 6. Poisson regression with robust variance estimation was used to derive relative risks (RR) for the association between baseline characteristics and incident falls.

Results: in multivariable-adjusted models that also controlled for history of falls, older age was the only factor associated with increased risk of incident falls in both sexes. Some factors were only predictive of falls in one sex, namely more depressive symptoms (RR (95% CI) 1.03 (1.01,1.06)), incontinence (1.12 (1.00,1.24)) and never having married in women (1.26 (1.03,1.53)), and greater comorbidity (1.04 (1.00,1.08)), higher levels of pain (1.10 (1.04,1.17) and poorer balance, as indicated by inability to attempt a full-tandem stand, (1.23 (1.04,1.47)) in men. Of these, only the relationships between pain, balance and comorbidity and falls risk differed significantly by sex.

Conclusions: there were some differences between the sexes in risk factors for incident falls. Our observation that associations between pain, balance and comorbidity and incident falls risk varied by sex needs further investigation in other cohorts.
1471-2318
Gale, Catharine
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Westbury, Leo
5ed45df3-3df7-4bf9-bbad-07b63cd4b281
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1
Gale, Catharine
5bb2abb3-7b53-42d6-8aa7-817e193140c8
Westbury, Leo
5ed45df3-3df7-4bf9-bbad-07b63cd4b281
Cooper, Cyrus
e05f5612-b493-4273-9b71-9e0ce32bdad6
Dennison, Elaine
ee647287-edb4-4392-8361-e59fd505b1d1

Gale, Catharine, Westbury, Leo, Cooper, Cyrus and Dennison, Elaine (2018) Risk factors for incident falls in older men and women: the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. BMC Geriatrics, 18 (117). (doi:10.1186/s12877-018-0806-3).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: falls are a major cause of disability and death in older people, particularly women. Cross-sectional surveys suggest that some risk factors associated with a history of falls may be sex-specific, but whether risk factors for incident falls differ between the sexes is unclear. We investigated whether risk factors for incident falls differ between men and women.

Methods: participants were 3298 people aged ≥60 who took part in the Waves 4-6 surveys of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing. At Wave 4, they provided information about sociodemographic, lifestyle, behavioural and medical factors and had their physical and cognitive function assessed. Data on incident falls during the four-year follow-up period was collected from them at Waves 5 and 6. Poisson regression with robust variance estimation was used to derive relative risks (RR) for the association between baseline characteristics and incident falls.

Results: in multivariable-adjusted models that also controlled for history of falls, older age was the only factor associated with increased risk of incident falls in both sexes. Some factors were only predictive of falls in one sex, namely more depressive symptoms (RR (95% CI) 1.03 (1.01,1.06)), incontinence (1.12 (1.00,1.24)) and never having married in women (1.26 (1.03,1.53)), and greater comorbidity (1.04 (1.00,1.08)), higher levels of pain (1.10 (1.04,1.17) and poorer balance, as indicated by inability to attempt a full-tandem stand, (1.23 (1.04,1.47)) in men. Of these, only the relationships between pain, balance and comorbidity and falls risk differed significantly by sex.

Conclusions: there were some differences between the sexes in risk factors for incident falls. Our observation that associations between pain, balance and comorbidity and incident falls risk varied by sex needs further investigation in other cohorts.

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Accepted/In Press date: 3 May 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 16 May 2018

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 420733
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/420733
ISSN: 1471-2318
PURE UUID: 5a9caafc-60a8-469e-a4d4-1ad14abd14f5
ORCID for Catharine Gale: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3361-8638
ORCID for Cyrus Cooper: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-3510-0709
ORCID for Elaine Dennison: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3048-4961

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Date deposited: 14 May 2018 16:30
Last modified: 03 Dec 2019 02:01

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