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Fatal falls rise dramatically in adults 65 and older

June 12, 2018—The number of fatal falls among U.S. seniors is on the rise, a new report shows.

In 2016 a total of 29,668 adults 65 and older died from a fall. In 2007, that number was 18,334.

If deadly falls keep rising at this pace, some 59,000 seniors could lose their lives in 2030, the researchers warned.

What explains the recent surge in deaths? A key reason may be that seniors are living longer with serious chronic diseases—such as stroke, cancer or heart disease—that raise their risk of falling.

Nationwide, about 1 in 4 adults 65 and older falls each year, experts estimate. And falls kill more seniors than any other injury.

Oldest adults most at risk

The study also found that people over 85 were the most likely to have a fatal fall. Among this group, the rate of fatal falls each year rose by almost 4 percent.

Still another finding: Men had higher death rates from falling than women. This may because of how they tended to fall compared to women—for example, when standing on a ladder or drinking.

The researchers published their findings in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Speak up, stay steady

Fewer than half of older adults who fall ever tell their doctor. But falling once doubles your odds of falling again. So don't keep a fall to yourself. Your doctor can help reduce your risk of a serious fall—for example, by checking your eyesight, hearing or balance or reviewing your medications. The side effects of some can make you vulnerable to a fall.

And keep in mind: Falls aren't a given. You can often avoid them with tips like these.

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