Calcium buildup in a major blood vessel is linked to a 39% higher risk of serious falls in older women, according to new research from Edith Cowan University (ECU).
This accumulation of calcium, known as abdominal aortic calcification (AAC), is a hardening of the largest artery in the abdomen, which can be identified early in a commonly used bone densification machine.
The study’s findings could help health professionals identify people at risk of serious falls prematurely to prevent future falls and their life-changing consequences.
The frustrated future falls
Falls are a growing public health concern, killing some 680,000 people a year worldwide. They are also a leading cause of injury and disability in Australia, especially in the elderly, with approximately one person admitted every five minutes due to a fall.
Principal co-author, PhD in ECU. Candidate Abadi Gebre, said the findings offer a new avenue for fall prevention.
“We found that more than 7 out of ten women in our study had AAC, which is an alarming number of people at risk for a very serious fall,” Gebre said.
“Falls can not only cause fractures and other injuries, but can also lead to loss of mobility and independence. When you lose your independence, you lose your quality of life and social connection. This often leads to a rapid deterioration of physical health and mental. “
According to Gebre, the study is the first time researchers are investigating whether AAC evaluated in bone-density machine scans can identify women at higher risk for serious falls.
“More than half a million older Australians undergo routine bone mineral density tests each year to detect osteoporosis,” Gebre said.
“If we can capture additional exploration to look for evidence of AAFC at the same time, we can identify and prevent future harmful falls.
“We often wait until a person suffers a fall to intervene and by this time the damage is already done.”
Reach the heart of falling
The study’s lead author, Associate Professor Joshua Lewis, a member of the future leader of the National Heart Foundation at ECU, said the results demonstrate the importance of detecting AAC early.
“We know that AAFC identifies women at higher risk of heart attack and stroke, but our research now shows that it also identifies women at higher risk of falls, regardless of other risk factors for falls and of muscle strength, ”he said.
Researchers say the next step is to find out how and why AAFC and falls are related and whether specific dietary and lifestyle interventions can prevent the risk of both cardiovascular disease and falls.
The study, funded by the Rebecca L. Cooper Medical Research Foundation, examined how blood vessel disease is related to falls and fractures in 1,053 Western Australian women with a mean age of 75 years. The Perth Longitudinal Study of Aging in Women (PLSAW), is a cohort study of Western Australian women who agreed to provide epidemiological data for 15 years. Researchers recognize his important contribution.
The research is part of a collaboration with Professor Richard Prince of the University of Western Australia and is based on ECU research on the association between AAFC and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The ECU is also making one Study funded by NHMRC which investigates how artificial intelligence could be used in conjunction with bone density scans to identify blood vessel disease.
“Abdominal aortic calcification is associated with increased risk of fall-related detrimental hospitalizations in Old Australia women“was published today in Atherosclerosis.
Abadi K. Gebre et al, Abdominal aortic calcification is associated with an increased risk of detrimental fall-related hospitalizations in older Australian women, Atherosclerosis (2021). DOI: 10.1016 / j.atherosclerosis.2021.05.003
Edith Cowan University
Citation: The risk of future falls detected by a simple bone density scan (2021, June 11) recovered on June 12, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-06-future-falls-simple-bone -density.html
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