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Journal Article

Citation

Roman de Mettelinge T, Cambier D, Calders P, Van den Noortgate N, Delbaere K. PLoS One 2013; 8(6): e67055.

Affiliation

Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.

Copyright

(Copyright © 2013, Public Library of Science)

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0067055

PMID

23825617

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Older adults with type 2 Diabetes Mellitus are at increased risk of falling. The current study aims to identify risk factors that mediate the relationship between diabetes and falls. METHODS: 199 older adults (104 with diabetes and 95 healthy controls) underwent a medical screening. Gait (GAITRite®), balance (AccuGait® force plate), grip strength (Jamar®), and cognitive status (Mini-Mental State Examination and Clock Drawing Test) were assessed. Falls were prospectively recorded during a 12-month follow-up period using monthly calendars. RESULTS: Compared to controls, diabetes participants scored worse on all physical and cognitive measures. Sixty-four participants (42 diabetes vs. 22 controls) reported at least one injurious fall or two non-injurious falls ("fallers"). Univariate logistic regression identified diabetes as a risk factor for future falls (Odds Ratio 2.25, 95%CI 1.21-4.15, p = 0.010). Stepwise multiple regressions defined diabetes and poor balance as independent risk factors for falling. Taking more medications, slower walking speed, shorter stride length and poor cognitive performance were mediators that reduced the Odds Ratio of the relationship between diabetes and faller status relationship the most followed by reduced grip strength and increased stride length variability. CONCLUSIONS: Diabetes is a major risk factor for falling, even after controlling for poor balance. Taking more medications, poorer walking performance and reduced cognitive functioning were mediators of the relationship between diabetes and falls. Tailored preventive programs including systematic medication reviews, specific balance exercises and cognitive training might be beneficial in reducing fall risk in older adults suffering from diabetes.


Language: en

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