First major study in Rheumatoid Arthritis to explore risk factors of falling
In a recent study “Risk factors for falls in Adults with Rheumatoid arthritis,” 525 people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) were followed for one year to examine risk factors for falling. Thirty-six percent of patients in the study fell at least once during the year. Neither age nor gender increased fall risk.
The authors determined that the data show “falls in adults with RA are not just random events but may be predicted and possibly prevented by assessing and treating a number of independent risk factors.”
Factors that increased fall risk in people with Rheumatoid disease
Tender or swollen lower limb joints doubled fall in risk. Other factors that increased the likelihood of falling included higher HAQ score, previous falls, greater fear of falling, taking four or more medicines or psychotropic medicines, and higher pain and fatigue levels. People who felt “dizzy or unsteady” also had an 80% increased risk of falling.
The investigators concluded: “Adults with RA are at high risk of falls. In clinical practice high risk falls patients with RA can be identified by asking whether patients have fallen in the past year. Important risk factors highlighted in this study included: swollen and tender lower limb joints; fatigue and use of psychotropic medicines.”
Interventions to reduce fall risk with Rheumatoid disease
Recommendations for lowering fall risks included, reducing psychotropic medications, assessing joints in feet and legs, increasing strength in feet and legs. Risk of fall should be assessed since Rheumatoid disease activity increases risk, regardless of age. Assessing fall risk should include inquiries about previous falls.
Have you fallen? What were the factors? Did you fit the patterns in this study?
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