The fear of falling
One in four people over the age of 70 suffers from gait disturbance. To prevent falls, specific treatment should be given. In the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Klaus Jahn and colleagues describe methods of differential diagnosis and therapy (Dtsch Arztebl Int 107: 306-16). Gait disturbance is defined as unsteadiness during walking that is worse than the normal slowing of old age. It often has multiple causes; in elderly patients, fear is often a precipitating or aggravating factor. A vicious circle often arises in which fear of falling leads to avoidance of movement, and in turn to reduced fitness, lower confidence in one's own balance, increased fear, and increased danger of a fall. Depression and a markedly impaired quality of life can result.
In order for the treatment to be as effective as possible, the type of gait disturbance and its causes must be precisely analyzed. In their article, Jahn et al. present effective diagnostic methods. For example, the observation of parameters such as step length, speed, body posture, and variability while the patient walks a given distance, once with eyes open and once with eyes closed, enables classification of the type of gait disturbance.
- Smokers suffer more back painTue, 1 Jul 2008, 10:22:33 EDT
- Less salt for everybodyFri, 16 Jul 2010, 9:01:56 EDT
- Rate of falls in hospitals significantly reduced after use of intervention for fall preventionTue, 2 Nov 2010, 11:34:06 EDT
- When washing becomes a compulsionSat, 2 Apr 2011, 7:53:46 EDT
- Pertussis: Adults can fall severely ill tooThu, 25 Sep 2008, 10:38:13 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- 'Spooky action' builds a wormhole between 'entangled' quantum particles
- New report calls for attention to abrupt impacts from climate change
- Silent stalkers of dark ocean waters
- Domestication of dogs may have elaborated on a pre-existing capacity of wolves to learn from humans
- Signalers vs. strong silent types: Sparrows exude personalities during fights