Objective: Falls are a devastating consequence of Parkinson's disease (PD) and are due to motor imbalance. However, the frequency of falls and their risk factors among Nigerians with PD is not known despite the significant increase in PD cases in the country. To assess fall risk factors and frequency in Nigerian PD patients.
Methods: Using an analytical design to compare falling versus non-falling patients, 81 PD patients were assessed for clinical factors, frequency of falls, and candidate risk factors for falls according to the Tinetti Balance and Gait, Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale subsection 1, and Timed Up and Go Tests. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariate analyses were performed at the 95% confidence level.
Results: The mean age of participants was 65.6 ± 9.7 years. Falls were about three times (p < 0.001) more common in PD patients. Of the falling patients, 67.7% sustained injuries, 67.7% had recurrent falls and 44.9% admitted to having a fear of falling. The independent statistical predictors of fall were fear of falling [odds ratio (OR): 3.86], disease severity (OR: 1.09) and disease duration (OR: 1.01).
Conclusion: The frequency of falls in PD patients was significantly higher when compared with the healthy adult population, and the modifiable predictor was fear of falling with a potential to significantly reduce falls when strategically addressed.
Keywords: Nigeria; Parkinson’s disease; Sub-Saharan Africa; falls; risk factors.