Protecting Accident Victims Throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Call 412-391-6636 for a free case consultation.


Protecting Accident Victims Throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Falls the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in older adults

On Behalf of | Mar 20, 2024 | Personal Injury

Falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury in older adults, posing notable health risks for this population. As people age, age-related changes increase the risk of falls, resulting in an elevated incidence of TBIs.

Understanding how and why falls contribute to TBIs in older adults is necessary for implementing effective prevention strategies and promoting their well-being.

Risk factors for falls

Several factors contribute to the heightened risk of falls among older adults. Age-related changes in vision, hearing and cognitive function can impair balance and coordination. This can make people more susceptible to falls. Chronic health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and Parkinson’s disease can also weaken bones and muscles, further increasing the risk of falls. Environmental factors, such as poor lighting, uneven surfaces and cluttered living spaces, also contribute to fall-related injuries in older adults.

Impact of falls on TBI

When older adults fall, they face an increased risk of sustaining head injuries, including TBIs. The impact of a fall can cause the brain to strike against the skull or twist within the skull, leading to bruising, bleeding or swelling of the brain tissue. Even seemingly minor falls can result in concussions or other forms of TBI. This is particularly likely in older adults with preexisting health conditions or compromised bone density.

Preventive measures

Preventing falls helps reduce the risk of TBIs among older adults. Maintaining a healthy diet to support bone health and removing hazards from the home environment can help mitigate fall risks. Using mobility aids such as canes or walkers and wearing appropriate footwear can further enhance stability and prevent falls. By addressing intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors, older adults can reduce their likelihood of experiencing falls and subsequent TBIs.

UCLA Health notes that falls contribute to 80% of TBI-related older adult emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths. Seeking prompt medical treatment after a fall helps older adults determine the extent of their head injuries and the most appropriate course of treatment.