Older men more likely to get skull fractures from falls, study finds

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In a study from Florida Atlantic University, scientists found that men over 65 are at greater risk than women of skull fractures from falls.

Each year, more than 3 million people ages 65 and older are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.

Head trauma is the leading cause of serious injury with skull fractures being reported as a serious outcome.

Because older females have an increased rate of falls and facial fractures, determining if they also are at an increased risk of skull fractures is crucial.

In the study, the team examined the risk of skull fracture secondary to head trauma in female and male patients ages 65 and older.

They evaluated all patients with head trauma at two level-one trauma centers in southeast Florida serving a population of more than 360,000 geriatric patients.

The researchers examined skull fractures due to acute trauma and compared them by sex as well as patient race/ethnicity and mechanism of injury.

Among the 5,402 patients enrolled, 56 percent were female, and 44 percent were male.

Eighty-five percent of the head injuries sustained were due to falls, and this trend also was seen across race/ethnicity and mechanism of injury.

Both females and males had a similar mean age, 82.8 and 81.1 years, respectively.

The findings showed that when comparing geriatric males and females, males had a strongly increased incidence of skull fracture secondary to head trauma, due mostly to falls.

This outcome was unexpected, as previous research has indicated females are more susceptible to facial fractures.

This trend also was seen across race/ethnicity, though results were only statistically significant for whites.

The team says the high incidence of head injury and subsequent skull fractures due to falls is a cause for concern as our aging population continues living active lifestyles.

As falls caused the greatest number of head injuries and subsequent skull fractures, fall prevention may be an important intervention to consider in reducing morbidity.

If you care about pain, please read studies about vitamin K deficiency linked to hip fractures in old people, and these vitamins could help reduce bone fracture risk.

For more information about wellness, please see recent studies that Krill oil could improve muscle health in older people, and eating yogurt is linked to lower frailty in older people.

The study was conducted by Scott M. Alter et al and published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

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