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Anemia in Elderly Raises Risk of Falls

Risk Is High for Falls That Cause Injuries to Hip and Head

Measuring Trends continued...

Woodman says after a fall, doctors need to include a hemoglobin study as part of the routine workup. "This needs to be assessed in an ongoing manner," he says. "Patients fall for a lot of different reasons, but if they do fall it puts them at risk for another fall."

The anemia isn't necessarily a result of a poor diet, but it could be the result of underlying disease, Woodman says. "There are a number of treatment options that can range from simple vitamins and iron pills to more specific therapy to treat any underlying disease."

The anemia could be due to iron deficiency that could mean a loss of blood, chronic kidney disease, or unexplained anemia, he says.

Woodman calls for further study to determine if correcting the anemia could reduce the number of injurious falls in these patients.

"The bottom line is that anemia in the elderly is very important," says George. "Yet anemia in the elderly is not on the radar of most physicians."

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