Association between the metabolic syndrome and its components with falls in community-dwelling older adults

Metab Syndr Relat Disord. 2012 Dec;10(6):447-51. doi: 10.1089/met.2012.0046. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Abstract

Background: The metabolic syndrome and falls are both serious and common health problems in older adults. However, little is known about whether the metabolic syndrome contributes to falls. We investigated the relationship between the metabolic syndrome and its components with falls in community-dwelling older adults.

Methods: We designed and conducted a cross-sectional study. A total of 1165 community-dwelling older adults who received a geriatric health examination, including interviewer-administered questionnaires and physical and biochemical examinations, were retrospectively enrolled from 2008 to 2010 and specifically asked about the history of falls in the preceding year.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 74.9 ± 6.7 years, and 54.3% were women. The overall prevalence of falls and metabolic syndrome were 17.9% and 27.3%, respectively. Compared with those who did not fall, the participants who fell had a higher prevalence of the metabolic syndrome (45.7% versus 23.3%, P<0.001) and four of its five components, namely, abdominal obesity (51.2% versus 40.2 %, P=0.004), hypertriglyceridemia (32.2% versus 21.8%, P=0.001), hypertension (60.0% versus 50.0%, P=0.009), and impaired glucose tolerance (28.4 % versus 16.0%, P<0.001). After adjusting for age, female sex, the Karnofsky Performance Scale, and the five-item Brief Symptom Rating Scale, the metabolic syndrome was a significant independent risk factor for falls in community-dwelling older adults (odds ratio=2.56, 95% confidence interval 1.86-3.51). Because falling is a multifactorial geriatric syndrome, many potential confounders, such as visual abnormalities, obesity, arthritis, and polypharmacy, were not considered in this study.

Conclusion: The metabolic syndrome is an independent risk factor for falls in community-dwelling older adults and should be addressed with regard to prevention of falls.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Syndrome / etiology*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vision Disorders / complications
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology