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The fear of falling

Date:
May 23, 2010
Source:
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International
Summary:
One in four people over the age of 70 suffers from gait disturbance. To prevent falls, specific treatment should be given. In a new study, researchers in Germany describe methods of differential diagnosis and therapy.
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One in four people over the age of 70 suffers from gait disturbance. To prevent falls, specific treatment should be given. In the current issue of Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, Klaus Jahn and colleagues describe methods of differential diagnosis and therapy.

Gait disturbance is defined as unsteadiness during walking that is worse than the normal slowing of old age. It often has multiple causes; in elderly patients, fear is often a precipitating or aggravating factor. A vicious circle often arises in which fear of falling leads to avoidance of movement, and in turn to reduced fitness, lower confidence in one's own balance, increased fear, and increased danger of a fall. Depression and a markedly impaired quality of life can result.

In order for the treatment to be as effective as possible, the type of gait disturbance and its causes must be precisely analyzed. In their article, Jahn et al. present effective diagnostic methods. For example, the observation of parameters such as step length, speed, body posture, and variability while the patient walks a given distance, once with eyes open and once with eyes closed, enables classification of the type of gait disturbance.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Klaus Jahn, Andreas Zwergal, Roman Schniepp. Gait Disturbances in Old Age: Classification, Diagnosis, and Treatment From a Neurological Perspective. Deutsches Ärzteblatt International, 2010; 107 (17): 306-16 DOI: 10.3238/arztebl.2010.0306

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Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "The fear of falling." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514151922.htm>.
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. (2010, May 23). The fear of falling. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514151922.htm
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International. "The fear of falling." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100514151922.htm (accessed September 2, 2015).

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