PS 08-25 PREVALENCE AND PREDICTORS OF FALLS AMONG ELDERLY HYPERTENSIVES IN SOUTH-SOUTH NIGERIA

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Abstract

Objective:

Hypertension and falls are common geriatric problems globally. This study assessed the prevalence of falls and highlighted the predictors of the same among hypertensive elderly patients accessing care at Lily Hospitals Geriatric Clinic.

Design and Method:

Employing a cross-sectional study design, 277 elderly hypertensives on treatment for at least 6 months were recruited. Socio-demographic history, hypertension history, drug use history, activities of daily living, visual acuity, tonometry, blood pressure check, weight and height, hearing whispering test and timed get-up-and-go test were all executed. Data was analyzed using the SPSS® version 16 software.

Results:

Of the 277 respondents, 33.2% were males and 66.8% were females. The mean age was 73.7 ± 7.43 years. Over half of the respondents were between the ages 65–74 years. The overall prevalence of falls among the respondents was 35% in the past year. Majority had only one fall (60.8%) while 18.6% had three falls. Respondents with poor blood pressure control had a slightly lower prevalence of falls (25.9%). Significantly more respondents who used four or more medications (anti-hypertensives and sedatives), had blurred vision and with environmental risks (poor lighting, slippery falls) experienced more falls than their respective counterparts (p < 0.005). Predictors for lower risk for falls among the cohort were a higher blood pressure and presence of strong family support.

Conclusions:

Over a third of the elderly hypertensives studied reported falling at least once in the preceding year. Use of four or more medications, blurred vision and presence of environmental risks are predictors of falls among the respondents. In the interest of public health and safety, Physicians should inquire about falls from elderly hypertensives with a view to promote fall preventive measures including modifying their hypertension medications.

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