In a new study, researchers found that some heart problems are linked to a higher risk of falling in older people.
The heart problems include subclinical myocardial damage and cardiac wall strain.
The research was conducted by a team from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).
Each year, one out of three U.S. adults aged 65 years or older falls, and the number of deaths from falls is rising.
Falls cost the U.S. health system more than $23 billion in emergency room visits each year.
More is worse, falls frequently contribute to serious injury in older adults, often resulting in persistent disability and premature death.
In the new study, the team followed nearly 4,000 older adults (average age of 75 years) for four and a half years.
They found that subclinical myocardial damage and cardiac wall strain are linked to a higher risk of falling in older adults without known heart disease.
In older-aged community-dwelling population without heart disease, stroke or heart failure, the markers of subclinical myocardial damage and cardiac wall strain were strongly linked to new falls.
The study shows new factors that contribute to falls, which points towards interventions that may help prevent them.
The team suggests that protecting heart health even in healthy older people may be a strategy for preventing falls.
Future work needs to see if the treatment of subclinical heart problems could help prevent falls among older adults.
The lead author of the study is Stephen Juraschek, MD, Ph.D., a primary care physician.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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