Falls can lead to severe health loss including death. Past research has shown that falls are an important cause of death and disability worldwide. The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 (GBD 2017) provides a comprehensive assessment of morbidity and mortality from falls.
Estimates for mortality, years of life lost (YLLs), incidence, prevalence, years lived with disability (YLDs), and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were produced for 195 countries and territories from 1990 to 2017 for all ages using the GBD 2017 framework. Distributions of the bodily injury (e.g., hip fracture) were estimated using hospital records.
Globally, the age-standardized incidence of falls was 2,238 (1,990–2,532) per 100,000 in 2017, representing a decline of 3.7% (7.4–0.3) from 1990 to 2017. Age-standardized prevalence was 5,186 (4,622–5,849) per 100,000 in 2017, representing a decline of 6.5% (7.6–5.4) from 1990 to 2017. Age-standardized mortality rate was 9.2 (8.5–9.8) per 100,000 which equated to 695,771 (644,927–741,720) deaths in 2017. Globally, falls resulted in 16,688,088 (15,101,897–17,636,830) YLLs, 19,252,699 (13,725,429–26,140,433) YLDs and 35,940,787 (30,185,695–42,903,289) DALYs across all ages. The most common injury sustained by fall victims is fracture of patella, tibia or fibula, or ankle. Globally, age-specific YLD rates increased with age.
This study shows that the burden of falls is substantial. Investing in further research, fall prevention strategies, and access to care is critical.
James SL, Lucchesi LR, Bisignano C, Castle CD, Dingels ZV, Fox JT, Hamilton EB, Henry NJ, Krohn KJ, Liu Z, McCracken D, Nixon MR, Roberts NLS, Sylte DO, Adsuar JC, Arora A, Briggs AM, Collado-Mateo D, Cooper C, Dandona L, Dandona R, Ellingsen CL, Fereshtehnejad SM, Gill TK, Haagsma JA, Hendrie D, Jurisson M, Kumar GA, Lopez AD, Miazgowski T, Miller TR, Mini GK, Mirrakhimov EM, Mohamadi E, Olivares PR, Rahim F, Riera LS, Villafaina S, Yano Y, Hay SI, Lim SS, Mokdad AH, Naghavi M, Murray CJL. The global burden of falls: global, regional, and national estimates of morbidity and mortality from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Injury Prevention. 15 January 2020; doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2019-043286.