Some people have a fear of heights, some people have a fear of certain animals and yes some people have a fear of falling. While these fears have been linked to physiological issues, a new study suggest that those who have a fear of falling could also lead to them having a future of falling as they reach old age.
That’s right, the fear of falling has been linked by researchers to be linked to older people being irrespective of their actual risk of falling due to their own fear of falling. This suggests that both the perceived and measured risk of actually falling could help to tailor treatment of those issues to prevent falling at older ages. The researchers at Australia and Belgium wanted to improve their understanding of fear of falling itself and then examine the impact that it had on the actual act of falling itself.
Researchers took five hundred people who were the ages seventy to ninety years old who lived in Sydney and they then put these participants through neuropsychological assessment. Through this process they estimated the fall risk of the patients. The researchers found that both the actual fall risk and the perceived fall risk according to the patient were independently contributed to the persons future fall risk. Through the continued research, scientists determined that overall it appeared that those who had a high perceived risk of falling were more likely to actual have a fall occur in the future. This same researchers suggests that reducing the fear of falling is not likely to increase the risk of falls by making the patient instead overly confident.
Though it is not clear how much this new research will actually impact the current situation in the short term, it will in the long term. With this new information doctors can better tailor their questions and make sure to see how high their patients risk is to actually having a fall. In this way they can help that same patient protect themselves with specific devices and give them suggestions on trying to prevent future fall from occurring. If the patient doesn’t even understand that they have a fear of falling in the first place, this new research could go a long way in helping them understand it and prevent themselves from falling at an older age. Though this research may seem a bit trivial and seem like common sense, the fact of the matter is even so doctors do not ask older patients if they have a fear of falling and with research like this it may go a long way in helping them get asked the right questions.