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Stroke survivors 'more likely to fall'

22nd February 2006

People who have suffered a stroke are twice as likely to fall and three times more likely to suffer injury compared to those with no history of strokes, it has been claimed.

These findings were made at the International Stroke Conference in Florida following a study by Dr Afshin Divani of the 2002 Health and Retirement Survey.

Dr Divani was reported by DGDispatch as saying: "Doctors need to know that the incidence of falling in stroke survivors is high – 36 per cent – as is their rate of injury and that falls complicate survivors' recovery."

He further explained that once a stroke victim suffers a fall, they are likely to avoid physical therapy and restrict other activities.

By addressing the needs of patients and the environment they operate in, occupational therapists can help reduce the risks of a fall to aid recovery, Dr Divani added.

Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the West, typically causing greatly impaired movements in limbs in most victims.

Of 17,992 US respondents in the 2002 survey, 16 per cent with no stroke history reported a fall compared to 36 per cent of those that had, with 0.9 per cent with no history injuring their hips against 2.6 per cent of stroke victims.

The results, Dr Divani said, should offer doctors the chance to reduce the risk of falls to aid rehabilitation and recovery of victims.