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Carol Eustice

Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients at High Risk of Falls

By April 20, 2013

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According to study results from the University of Manchester, published in Arthritis Care and Research, one in 3 people with rheumatoid arthritis will fall one or more times a year, irrespective of their age. The study showed that people with rheumatoid arthritis who have fallen once are at greater risk of subsequent falls due to previous injury and an increased fear of falling. Over half of the falls in the study were associated with some degree of injury (e.g., pain, bruising), while about 10% of falls caused more serious injury, such as head injury or fracture.

The most significant risk factor for falls is a history of falls. People with rheumatoid arthritis are 3 times more likely to fall again within a year of their first fall. Recognizing and assessing factors that contribute to falls in rheumatoid arthritis patients, including fatigue, swollen and tender joints, medication use and muscle weakness, may help reduce the risk.

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