Risk of falls increases as iron levels decrease, study says

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Anemia in the elderly is closely tied to an increased risk of recurrent falls, according to a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Researchers studying elderly between the ages of 65 and 88 found recurrent falls occurred in 38.3% of those with anemia compared with 19.6% of participants without iron deficiency. Study participants who reportedly fell at least twice during a six-month period were classified as recurrent fallers.

Twelve percent of subjects had anemia, and 22% reported at least one fall. The study seems to suggest that anemia may directly affect muscle quality, according to the study report written by researcher Dr. Brenda W. J. H. Penninx, from VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, and colleagues.