Late-life anemia is associated with increased risk of recurrent falls

Brenda W.J.H. Penninx*, Saskia M.F. Pluijm, Paul Lips, Richard Woodman, Kor Miedema, Jack M. Guralnik, Dorly J.H. Deeg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine whether anemia is associated with a higher incidence of recurrent falls. DESIGN: Prospective cohort study. SETTING: Community-dwelling sample in the Netherlands. PARTICIPANTS: Three hundred ninety-four participants aged 65 to 88 from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. MEASUREMENTS: Anemia was defined according to World Health Organization criteria as a hemoglobin concentration less than 12 g/dL in women and less than 13 g/dL in men. Falls were prospectively determined using fall calendars that participants filled out weekly for 3 years. Recurrent fallers were identified as those who fell at least two times within 6 months during the 3-year follow-up. RESULTS: Of the 394 persons, 11.9% (18 women and 29 men) had anemia. The incidence of recurrent falls was 38.3% of anemic persons versus 19.6% of nonanemic persons (P = .004). After adjustment for sex, age, body mass index, and diseases, anemia was significantly associated with a 1.91 times greater risk for recurrent falls (95% confidence interval = 1.09-3.36). Poor physical function (indicated by muscle strength, physical performance, and limitations) partly mediated the association between anemia and incidence of recurrent falls. CONCLUSION: Late-life anemia is common and associated with twice the risk of recurrent falls. Muscle weakness and poor physical performance appear to partly mediate this association.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2106-2111
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Volume53
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

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