The risk of a fall rises with age. A new study reveals the number of older people suffering disabling spinal cord injury is rising, too.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious consequence of accidents that twist, bruise or penetrate the spinal column. The thick, whitish spinal cord runs from the base of the brain to the tailbone. As a neurological extension of the brain, the spinal cord carries sensory information and enables motor movement.
A recent study from Johns Hopkins University evaluated emergency room data from more than 43,000 patients treated between 2007 and 2009. Data and trends noted by the study include:
- Falls have replaced motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of spinal injury.
- The incidence rate of SCI for adults from 18 to 64 years of age declined during the years of the study. The rate of spinal injury for adults over age 65 increased.
- The average age of a spinal cord injury victim rose from 41 to 51 years old.
- During emergency treatment for SCI, older adults are four times more likely to die than younger patients. After hospitalization, older adults are six times more likely to die than younger admitted patients.
Researchers suggest the trend away from spinal cord injury caused by car accidents could be due to improved automotive safety features. The increase of spinal injury in older adults could relate to more active lifestyles.
Spinal cord injury is devastating and potentially fatal. The authors of this study emphasize the need for age-specific strategies to prevent falls and the conditions that cause them.
Even when we’re careful, accidents can occur. If you are injured in a fall or an accident caused by the negligence of others in New York, talk to a skilled injury attorney about your case.