Vitamin D Supplements May Mitigate Fall Trauma in Elderly
Vitamin D supplements are trendy at the moment, with Vitamin D deficiencies blamed for all manner of health woes from weight gain or loss to an increase in risk of cancer.
But Vitamin D supplements are the subject of a new set of recommendations from the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) regarding the elderly and managing risk from slips and falls. Among patients 65 years and older, falls present a far larger risk than to those outside the danger zone, and occur with worrying frequently as aging advances.
Among those in the over 65 set who live in the community rather than an assisted living facility, somewhere between 30 and 40% fall at least once per year. Of those who experience a fall, between five and ten percent will suffer a resultant laceration, fracture or break, which can be a significant trauma- and Vitamin D could improve outcomes.
Marvin M. Lipman, M.D., Consumer Reports Chief Medical Adviser, commented on the risk in a blog post about the Vitamin D supplement recommendations on the magazine’s website:
“Even if they don’t result in a serious injury or bone fracture, falls in the elderly can be disastrous. The emotional trauma can be significant with resultant insecurity, fear of being alone, personality changes, depression, and resistance to accepting necessary mechanical or personal assistance.”
The site explains that the USPSTF examined nine trials involving Vitamin D supplements, discovering an approximate 17% reduction in risk of falls in a period of 6 to 36 months. Physical therapy and exercise conferred a benefit of about a 13% reduction of risk. Experts say that Vitamin D supplements carry such little risk that the benefits outweigh any concerns, strongly.