WOODLAND HILLS, Calif., May 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Every year, one in three people ages 65 years old and older has a fall, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The risk increases with age and can lead to serious injury, including hip fractures and head injuries, as well as hospitalization, loss of independence and even death. Fortunately, there are ways to limit the risk of a fall for yourself and a loved one.
Falls can be costly, both physically and economically.
In 2008, emergency departments across the country treated 2.1 million people who were injured in a fall, according to the CDC. More than 559,000 of those people required hospitalization as a result of their injuries, the CDC says. Falls not only affect the injured, but also caregivers, family members and even entire communities.
According to the CDC, $19 billion is spent on medical care related to falls, excluding family caregiving, home care, loss of productivity and the costs of remodeling a home to make it safer. By 2020, the annual direct and indirect costs of falls are expected to reach $54.9 billion.
"This is a very serious issue for people as they age," said Krista Bowers, senior vice president of Anthem Blue Cross (Anthem), which serves thousands of California seniors through its health care plans. "Chances are you know someone in your own family who has been impacted. Falls are unpredictable. The trigger can be anything from an adverse drug interaction to a loose rug. The consequences can be life interrupting."
"In the past, falls probably haven't gotten as much attention as they warranted, considering their impact," added Bowers. "Thankfully, that is changing. Many people are now working to raise awareness of the dangers of falls, including the Centers for Disease Control, the American Geriatric Society; the National Council on Aging and even the U.S. Senate, which passed a resolution establishing a day dedicated to falls prevention."
Falling does not have to be an inevitable result of aging. There are a number of ways to protect yourself or a loved one, according to the experts, including the CDC and The National Council on Aging. Some tips include the following:
"Thankfully, there are many resources available to lessen an individual's risk of falling," said Bowers. "The key is education; learning about these things and implementing them to stop a fall before it happens. Additionally, seniors should be aware that a fall could be an indicator of an underlying medical condition that could warrant evaluation by a physician."
For more information about fall prevention, visit the National Council on Aging's falls website at www.ncoa.org/improving-health/falls-prevention/. The group counts Anthem's parent company among its sponsors.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your health.
About Anthem Blue Cross
Anthem Blue Cross is the trade name of Blue Cross of California. Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company are independent licensees of the Blue Cross Association. ® ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross name and symbol are registered marks of the Blue Cross Association. Additional information about Anthem Blue Cross and Anthem Blue Cross Life and Health Insurance Company is available at www.anthem.com. Also, follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/healthjoinin, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthJoinIn, or visit our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/healthjoinin.
|SOURCE Anthem Blue Cross|
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