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Dizziness and its association with walking speed and falls efficacy among older men and women in an urban population

Journal article
Authors Ellen Lindell
Lena Kollén
Mia Johansson
Therese Karlsson
Lina Rydén
Anna Zettergren
Kerstin Frändin
Ingmar Skoog
Caterina Finizia
Published in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research
ISSN 1594-0667
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Oncology
Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Psychiatry and Neurochemistry
Institute of Clinical Sciences, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
Centre for Ageing and Health (Agecap)
Language en
Links https://doi.org/10.1007/s40520-019-...
Keywords Dizziness, Falls, Fear of falling, Medication, Unsteadiness, Walking speed
Subject categories Otorhinolaryngology

Abstract

© 2019, The Author(s). Background: Dizziness is common among older people and falling is a feared complication. Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate the presence of dizziness and its association with falls, walking speed and fear of falling, including sex differences, among 79-year-olds. Secondary purposes were to describe the relationship between dizziness and falls to number of medications and diseases. Method: The study consisted of the fifth cohort of Gothenburg’s H70 birth cohort studies. A sample of 662 79-year-olds (404 women, 258 men) were investigated with questions regarding dizziness, previous falls and falls efficacy [estimated according to the falls efficacy scale Swedish version (FES (S))]. Functional tests included self-selected and maximal walking speed over 20 m. Results: Dizziness was reported among 51% of the women and by 58% of the men (p = 0.12). Approximately, 40% had fallen during the past 12 months (41% women, 38% of the men, p = 0.48). Dizziness was related to a higher risk of falls among women (OR 2.63 (95% CI 1.67−4.14, p < 0.0001), but not among men (OR 1.07, 95% CI 0.63−1.82, p = 0.8). Dizzy individuals had lower scores on FES (S) (p < 0.01), more medications (p < 0.001) and diseases (p < 0.001) than those without dizziness. Participants who reported dizziness walked 10% slower than participants without dizziness (p < 0.001). Conclusion: Women with dizziness more often reported falls compared to women without dizziness—a trend that was not seen among men. Persons with dizziness walked slower. Many medications increased risk of falling; hence, number of medications alone might help pinpoint risk groups for falling.

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