Falls--where do we stand?
Falls occur commonly in older persons and are the seventh leading cause of death. Falls are associated with functional deterioration and "fear of falling". Falls can be due to extrinsic factors such as poor lighting, throw rugs and other environmental hazards. Intrinsic causes of falls include physiological changes associated with aging, orthostatic hypotension, many medications, delirium, anemia, diabetes mellitus, Parkinson's disease, depression, cognitive impairment, syncope, partial complex seizures and vitamin D deficiency. Management of falls requires a multidisciplinary approach with a home assessment and modification where appropriate, a careful geriatric assessment, exercise programs focusing on balance, resistance and endurance exercise and adequate vitamin D replacement. All fallers should be assessed and treated for osteoporosis. The complexities of the causes and management of falls, make persons with frequent falls an ideal person to be referred for a geriatric consult.