Chonnam Med J.  2019 May;55(2):104-108. 10.4068/cmj.2019.55.2.104.

Association of Falls and Fear of Falling with Mortality in Korean Adults: The Dong-gu Study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Public Health, Graduate School Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.
  • 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea. mhshinx@paran.com
  • 3Department of Preventive Medicine & Institute of Wonkwang Medical Science, Wonkwang University College of Medicine, Iksan, Korea.
  • 4Department of Preventive Medicine, Chungnam National University Medical School, Daejeon, Korea.
  • 5Cardiocerebrovascular Center, Mokpo Jung-Ang Hospital, Mokpo, Korea.
  • 6Department of Preventive Medicine, Chosun University Medical School, Gwangju, Korea.

Abstract

This study evaluated the association between falls and the fear of falling (FOF) with the risk of all-cause mortality in Korean adults. The study enrolled 4,386 subjects aged 50 years and over who participated in the Dong-gu Study. Falls in the past year were categorized as yes or no. Injurious falls were defined as falls that resulted in fractures, head injuries, sprains or strains, bruising or bleeding, or other unspecified injuries. FOF was classified as low or high. The associations of falls and fall-related characteristics with mortality were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. The average follow-up was 7.8 years. During this period, 255 men and 146 women died. In a fully adjusted model, falls in the past year were not associated with an increased risk of all-cause mortality (hazard ratio [HR] 1.16, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.85-1.58), but a history of injurious falls was associated with an increased risk of mortality (HR 1.36, 95% CI 1.04-1.79). Compared with subjects without a FOF, subjects who were moderately or very afraid of falling had a higher mortality rate (HR 1.26, 95% CI 0.97-1.63). In conclusion, injurious falls and a high FOF increased the risk of all-cause mortality in Koreans. This study suggests that injurious falls and FOF can predict mortality in the general population.

Keyword

Accidental Falls; Cohort Studies; Risk; Cause of Death
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