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Arthritis increases chance of falls

Group of people doing yoga on the beachAdults with arthritis are more likely to fall and suffer a fall injury than adults without arthritis. Falls are preventable; learn more about reducing your risk of falling.

A new CDC study of adults 45 years and older shows that adults with arthritis were more likely to fall and have a fall injury compared with adults that did not have arthritis. For this study, a fall injury is defined as a fall causing a person to limit regular activities for at least one day or go see a doctor. Older adults (ages 65 and older) and middle-aged adults (ages 45 and older) with arthritis had a greater chance of falling or having a fall injury.

Key Findings:

  • Compared to adults without arthritis, adults with arthritis were more than twice as likely to report two or more falls or an injury related to a fall.
  • The map below shows that at least 30% of adults with arthritis in 46 states and DC said they had one or more falls in the past 12 months.

Age-standardized prevalence of having one or more falls in the past 12 months among adults aged  ≥ 45 years with arthritis — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2012

Age-standardized prevalence of having one or more falls in the past 12 months among adults aged ≥45 years with arthritis — Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, United States, 2012

Three women sitting on floor and stretching

What You Can Do:

If you have arthritis, you can reduce your risk of falling by exercising or receiving physical therapy that improves your walking speed, balance, and lower body strength. These types of fall prevention interventions are effective at reducing fall risk.

What CDC is Doing:

Raising awareness about the link between arthritis and falls and making fall prevention interventions widely available in both community and clinical settings. Learn more about these programs.

More Information about the Study:

This study was based on 2012 data from a sample of 338,734 adults aged 45 or older from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, which interviews the civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. population by land-line and cellphone.

Data source:

Barbour KE, Stevens JA, Helmick, CG, Yao-Hua Luo, Murphy LB, Hootman JM, Theis K, Anderson LA, Baker NA, Sugerman DE. Falls and Fall Injuries Among Adults with Arthritis — United States, 2012. MMWR 2014;63 (17):379–383. html

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