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Diabetes causes elderly to fall

6th October 2005

Diabetes can be responsible for causing falls amongst elderly people living in nursing homes, new research has found.

The findings, published in the Journal of Gerontology and conducted by Columbia University researchers, studied 139 nursing home residents.

Those residents with diabetes were four times more likely than their contemporaries to suffer a fall.

Dr Matthew S Maurer, author of the study, told Reuters Health: "It's not really surprising that diabetes is such a potent risk factor.

"That's because a number of diabetes-related complications would be expected to contribute to falls."

The study showed that overall 78 per cent of the diabetic residents suffered a fall compared to just 30 per cent of those without diabetes.

Whilst Dr Maurer made clear the reasons for this phenomenon are not yet fully clear he speculated that it might be linked to peripheral neuropathy - nerve damage that affects feeling in the feet potentially throwing one off balance.