Among seniors, women account for most falls leading to head trauma and emergency department visits. But men aged 65 years and older have a greater incidence of falls-related skull fractures than their female counterparts, a new study finds.

The investigation included 5,400 participants who presented at emergency departments with skull fractures due to acute trauma. All had computed tomography (CT) scans. The average age was in the early 80s. Among the participants, 85% of head injuries were due to falls.

The researchers said that they were surprised by the results, which showed that male patients had significantly more skull fractures than females due to head trauma, mostly linked to falls. This finding held true across race/ethnicity and mechanism of fall, they reported.

Prior studies have consistently found that females are more susceptible to fall-related facial fractures, specifically. In studies comparing skull thickness, women also have been shown to have a significantly greater reduction of skull thickness with age than males, they noted.

“The high incidence of head injury and subsequent skull fractures due to falls is a cause for concern as our aging population continues living active lifestyles,” Scott M. Alter, MD, of Florida Atlantic University Schmidt College of Medicine concluded. “Fall prevention may be an important intervention to consider in reducing morbidity,” he said.

Falls prevention education can be addressed in long-term care facilities, by primary care doctors and in the emergency room, Alter added. 

The study was published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

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