More of our elders are suffering brain injuries from falling down
Jim Hanzo Reporting
We now have to worry about our parents when it comes to brain injuries. Government researchers say the elderly are suffering brain injuries from falls at an alarming rate. One in every 45 Americans, 75 years and older suffered brain injuries that resulted in emergency department visits, hospitalizations, even deaths.
The CDC isn't certain why the significant jump, but the thinking may be that a growing number of the elderly are living at home and taking repeated tumbles. Dr. Cathi Fontenot board-certified internist and geriatrician at LSU Health New Orleans says another reason is there are more of them.
"Our folks are living longer than they used to," Dr. Fontenot said. "So we now have, who knows, how many millions of people, age 75 and older, and as we age, our balance get a little worse and we tend to develop tendencies to fall."
And Dr. Fontenot says head injuries are a natural effect of that, just like broken bones, for instance, broken hips. Whatever the case, the numbers are striking.
"As we age, our vision declines, somewhat, so we don't see that rug on the floor, we get cataracts, we get core muscle weakening, so it's important to keep your core muscle strength up as you get older and that's with exercise," Dr. Fontenot added. "We become more unbalanced."
The rate of these injuries rose about 50 percent in the last few years. Dr. Cathi Fontenot says many of the elderly are on blood thinners so when they hit their heads from falls, they tend to bleed easier, and there's a much higher risk for bleeding inside the brain.
Dr. Fontenot says many of the elderly are on blood thinners so when they hit their heads from falls, they tend to bleed easier.
"So when they hit their heads, there's a much higher risk for bleeding inside the brain," Dr. Fontenot said.