Health: infections can increase the risk of falls

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Falls are still the number one cause of accidental deaths for people over 65 years old. They can have severe effects on a senior’s physical and/or psychological condition. A new study suggests that bloodstream, respiratory and even urinary infections can cause falls not only for elderly people, but younger people as well.

Infections can bring causing factors of falls for older and younger people

The most common causes of falls include balance problems, walking difficulties, muscular weakness, having fallen down several times already, etc. Despite being more common among the elderly, falls due to infections can also happen to young people: among the 161 patients that participated to the study, 20% were younger than 65. All patients came to the hospital after falling down.

Bloodstream, respiratory and urinary infections may cause physical weaknesses, lethargy; it may cause low blood pressure which can in turn cause lightheadedness and diziness. In case of people suffering from dementia, infections can add to the already existing confusion.

Among the 161 patients that took part to the study, 44.1% suffering from a urinary tract infection, 39.8% from a bloodstream infection, 23% from a respiratory infection and 5.6% from an infection of the heart valve. The study concludes that in the event of a fall – especially for an older person – relatives, caregivers and healthcare providers should consider previous health problems before jumping to conclusions to make sure the patient is diagnosed appropriately and can receive a proper treatment.

The study was presented at IDWeek 2015 conference in San Diego, California in the USA.


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