Falls the leading cause of injury, death for seniors, CDC says

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Older adults suffered an estimated 29 million falls in 2014 alone, making it the top cause of injury and death for the age group, according to new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those 29 million falls resulted in seven million injuries, and roughly $31 billion in annual Medicare costs. Falls are responsible for more than 27,000 deaths among seniors each year, the CDC said.

Healthcare providers can incorporate fall prevention activities into seniors' routine care to help curb the number of falls, said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

Frieden urged providers to ask patients if they have fallen in the past year, feel unsteady or worry about falls, as well as recommending vitamin D supplements. Providers can also take steps to review medications and stop, switch, or reduce a patient's dose of medications that carry potential fall risk, Frieden said.

The numbers were released Thursday in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report as part of the 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day.