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Open Access Research article

Blood pressure and falls in community-dwelling people aged 60 years and older in the VHM&PP cohort

Diana Klein1*, Gabriele Nagel23, Andrea Kleiner2, Hanno Ulmer4, Barbara Rehberger3, Hans Concin3 and Kilian Rapp12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Gerontology, Robert-Bosch-Hospital, Stuttgart, Germany

2 Institute of Epidemiology and Medical Biometry, Ulm University, Ulm, Germany

3 Agency for Social- and Preventive Medicine, Bregenz, Austria

4 Department of Medical Statistics, Informatics and Health Economics, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

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BMC Geriatrics 2013, 13:50  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-50

Published: 21 May 2013

Abstract

Background

Falls are one of the major health problems in old people. Different risk factors were identified but only few epidemiological studies analysed the influence of conventionally measured blood pressure on falls. The objective of our study was to investigate the relationship between systolic and diastolic blood pressure and falls.

Methods

In 3,544 community-dwelling Austrian women and men aged 60 years and older, data on falls within the previous three months were collected by questionnaire. Blood pressure was measured by general practitioners within the Vorarlberg Health Monitoring and Prevention Programme (VHM&PP) 90 to 1095 days before the fall assessment. A multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted. The models were stratified by gender and adjusted by age, number of medical conditions and subjective feeling of illness.

Results

In total, 257 falls in 3,544 persons were reported. In women, high systolic and diastolic blood pressure was associated with a decreased risk of falls. An increase of systolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and of diastolic blood pressure by 5 mmHg reduced the risk of falling by 9% (OR 0.91, 95% Cl 0.84-0.98) and 8% (OR 0.92, 95% Cl 0.85-0.99), respectively. In men, an increased risk of falls was observed in participants with low systolic or low diastolic blood pressure.

Conclusions

Blood pressure was associated with the risk of falls. Hypertensive values decreased the risk in women and low blood pressure increased the risk in men.

Keywords:
Falls; Blood pressure; Hypotension; Risk factors