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Multimorbidity and musculoskeletal disorders increase the risk of postmenopausal falls

Multimorbidity and musculoskeletal disorders are important risk factors for falls, especially for nonslip falls among postmenopausal women, according to the doctoral dissertation of Nadia Afrin, MD, MPH. The study also showed that a history of injurious falls is a stronger predictor for other fractures than for typical major osteoporotic fractures.

In global terms, falls among older adults are common and a serious public health concern. Approximately every third individual aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year, with fall rates being higher in women than in men. About 10% to 20% of these falls cause serious injuries such as fractures requiring hospitalization. Falling is also associated with considerable disability, decreased functioning and loss of independence leading to reduced quality of life and institutionalization. Falls are multifactorial in terms of mechanism, locations and comorbidities. Slips and trips are the most common mechanisms of falls reported by community dwelling older people living in countries with cold climates. Out of health-related factors, multimorbidity and especially musculoskeletal disorders are common important risk factors of falls in the older population. By identifying risk factors, it may be possible to target preventive measures to reduce the risk of falling.

Afrin’s thesis is based on a large population–based sample of the OSTPRE study (Kuopio Osteoporosis Risk Factor and Prevention Study) which began in Kuopio, Finland in 1989. The main objective of the thesis study was to assess the risks of falling as related to morbidity, with special references to musculoskeletal disorders and if risk predictions differ by type (slip/nonslip) or severity (non-injurious/injurious) of falls in postmenopausal women. In addition, the prediction of future fractures according to previous falling history was also evaluated.

The doctoral dissertation of Nadia Afrin, MD, MPH, entitled Health-related predictors and outcomes of falls in postmenopausal women, will be examined at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Opponent in the public examination will be Professor Ari Heinonen of the University of Jyväskylä, and the Custos will be Professor Heikki Kröger of the University of Eastern Finland. The public examination will be held in English online on 8 January 2021 starting at 12 noon.

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Public examination online

Doctoral dissertation online: Afrin, Nadia. Health-related predictors and outcomes of falls in postmenopausal women