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BOOMER HEALTH RISK: UNINTENTIONAL FALL

unintentional fall

Ask Amy gives her take on baby boomers’ unintentional fall.

Her numbers are big on the unintentional fall. Ask Amy doesn’t want us to take a dive.

25,000 deaths, over two million emergency room visits, all due to an unintentional fall.

The Center for Disease Control even has a page, as if an unintentional fall is a disease?

Maybe it is, but call it mental.

Who wants to call someone to climb a ladder? Not me, but I’m getting closer with the Ask Amy scare tactics.

From cdc.gov:

  • One out of five falls causes a serious injury such as broken bones or a head injury.1,2
  • Each year, 2.5 million older people are treated in emergency departments for fall injuries.3
  • Over 700,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or hip fracture.3
  • Each year at least 250,000 older people are hospitalized for hip fractures.5
  • More than 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling,6 usually by falling sideways.7
  • Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI).8
  • Adjusted for inflation, the direct medical costs for fall injuries are $34 billion annually.8 Hospital costs account for two-thirds of the total.

Pretty sobering numbers on falling, and they don’t even mention ladders or climbing on roof.

All statistics have room to improve.

Top Five of Anything lists this as top causes of death for people over 60.

1 Ischaemic Heart Disease 5,694,495
2 Cerebrovascular Disease 4,312,376
3 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases 2,285,834
4 Lower Respiratory Infections 1,225,643
5 Trachea, Lung and Bronchus Cancers 886,787

Instead of falling, it’s just breathing?

The World Health Organization looks at the bigger picture, as they should.

  • Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
  • Each year an estimated 424,000 individuals die from falls globally of which over 80% are in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Adults older than 65 suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
  • 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention, occur each year.
  • Prevention strategies should emphasize education, training, creating safer environments, prioritizing fall-related research and establishing effective policies to reduce risk.

Unless you’re climbing out of a burning building, climbing up a cliff after a car crash, or some other dramatic climb, why are you climbing?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of staying strong enough to climb to safety. It’s the unintentional fall part of avoidable climbing that does the damage.

At the gym last week I noticed one of my forty something pals watch me bench from bike row.

After I cranked up 225 five times I added another forty five pound plate on each side to test him.

Then I took them off and asked why he didn’t rush to save me from being stupid.

His response? “I just wonder when you’ll stop lifting with your ego?”

I wasn’t about to even try and push 315 lbs.

When I repeated the story, my Korean War mine sweeper buddy explained the DFM award.

His Marine Corps pals gave him one for his good work sweeping mines.

He said a DFM award works for most everyone.

“What’s DFM stand for?” I asked.

“Dumb Fuckers Medal.”

That’s what you’ll get after the fall. Along with a bad drug habit for chronic pain.

About David Gillaspie
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