Older individuals with diabetes have an increased risk of recurrent falls: Analysis of potential mediating factors: The Longitudinal Ageing Study Amsterdam
Objectives: to compare the incidence of recurrent falls in older people with and without diabetes, and to examine diabetes- and fall-related risk factors explaining the increased risk of recurrent falls associated with diabetes. Methods: population-based cohort study of 1,145 (85 with diabetes) community-dwelling participants, aged ≥65 years, from The Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA). Falls were assessed prospectively (every 3 months) during a 3-year follow-up period. Incidence of recurrent falls was estimated with Poisson regression analyses. The associations between diabetes and time to recurrent falls, defined as at least two falls occurring within a 6-month period, and the potential explanatory role of several risk factors herein, were analysed with the use of Cox-regression models. Results: during a mean follow-up of 139 weeks, 30.6% of the individuals with and 19.4% of the individuals without diabetes fell recurrently [incidence rate of 129.7 versus 77.4 per 1,000 persons-years, respectively, HR = 1.67 (95% CI: 1.11-2.51)]. Adjustments for potential confounders did not change the increased risk associated with diabetes [HR = 1.63 (1.06-2.52)] . Factors that partly explained this increased risk were: greater number of medication, higher levels of pain, poorer self-perceived health, lower physical activity and grip strength, more limitations in ADLs, lower-extremity physical performance and cognitive impairment. Altogether, these variables accounted for ∼47% of the increased risk of recurrent falls associated with diabetes [adjusted HR = 1.30 (0.79-2.11)]. Conclusion: fall prevention efforts targeting the factors identified above may need to be incorporated into the care and treatment of older individuals with diabetes.