How Frequently Do People Die From a Fall in Wisconsin?

Fatal Falls in Wisconsin

Did you know that falls are one of the leading causes of injuries and even accidental death in Wisconsin?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest report, there were a total of 1,635 fall-related deaths in Wisconsin during 2021. [1]

By delving into the conditions that cause frequent falls, you can empower yourself to contribute to a safer environment for everyone in Wisconsin.

What Conditions Make People Fall Frequently?

Several conditions can contribute to an increased risk of falling. Common factors that may make individuals more prone to falls include:

  • Advanced age: Older age can be a contributing factor, as older adults may experience reduced muscle strength, balance issues, vision changes, and medical conditions. Advanced age can lead to decreased agility and slower reaction times, making these individuals more vulnerable to falls.
  • Certain medications: Medications, particularly those that affect blood pressure or cause dizziness, can contribute to falls. Look for side effects such as drowsiness, light-headedness, or unsteadiness when taking medication.
  • Cognitive function: Conditions affecting cognitive function, such as dementia, can impact judgment and increase the risk of falls.
  • Chronic health conditions: Health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or stroke may affect mobility and make individuals more prone to losing their balance and falling.
  • Dehydration: Inadequate fluid intake can result in dizziness or lightheadedness, increasing the risk of falls.
  • Environmental hazards: Cluttered or poorly lit spaces, uneven surfaces, and slippery floors can create dangers that contribute to falls.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption: Drug use can impair judgment and coordination, increasing the likelihood of falls.
  • Foot problems: Foot problems such as arthritis, neuropathy, or improper footwear, may lead to reduced stability, sensation, bone density, muscle strength, and changes in gait.
  • Lack of physical activity: Lack of regular physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle can reduce muscle strength and coordination.
  • Muscle weakness: Muscle weakness can decrease strength and stability, making it easier to lose balance and may cause a fall. Warning signs to look out for include difficulty standing from a seated position or trouble climbing stairs.
  • Orthostatic hypotension: Sudden drops in blood pressure upon standing can cause dizziness and contribute to falls.
  • Poor balance: Poor balance, often caused by inner ear problems or certain medical conditions, can increase the risk of falling. Symptoms may include feeling lightheaded or dizzy when standing up and difficulty walking in a straight line.
  • Vision problems: Vision problems such as cataracts or glaucoma, can impair depth perception and peripheral vision, making one more likely to trip or stumble.
What Conditions Make People Fall Frequently?

Types of Injuries Caused by Falls in Wisconsin?

Several types of injuries can result from falls. Some common examples include:

  • Head injuries: Falls can lead to severe head injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) or skull fractures, which can be fatal.
  • Spinal cord injuries: Falls can cause damage to the spinal cord, resulting in paralysis or other severe complications that may be fatal.
  • Internal organ injuries: Falls can cause trauma to internal organs, including the lungs, liver, or kidneys, leading to internal bleeding or other life-threatening conditions.
  • Fractures: Falls can result in broken bones, especially in vulnerable areas like the hips or neck. These fractures can sometimes be fatal, particularly in older adults.
  • Complications from injuries: In some cases, the initial fall-related injury may not be fatal, but complications such as infections or blood clots can arise, leading to a fatal outcome.
  • Fatal Injuries: Falls, unfortunately, can result in an unexpected death.  This is especially true for falls that occur from heights, such as falling off a roof.  Some falls that result in deaths are the result of negligence.  Wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in this circumstance.
Types of Fatal Injuries Caused by Falls in Appleton?

Fall Safety Practices

To prevent falls, or reduce the severity of fall-related injuries, consider implementing the following measures:

  • Consume adequate calcium and vitamin D for bone health
  • Develop an emergency plan in case of a fall, including knowing how to call for help and having emergency contacts readily available
  • Engage in activities that improve strength, balance, and flexibility by incorporating exercises into your routine like walking, tai chi, or yoga
  • If recommended by a healthcare professional, use canes, walkers, or other assistive devices to provide additional support and balance
  • Install grab bars in bathrooms and near stairs to provide additional support
  • Limit alcohol consumption, as it can impair coordination and balance
  • Maintain a balanced diet to support overall health and well-being
  • Maintain proper hydration levels to prevent dizziness or lightheadedness, which can contribute to falls
  • Make your home safer by removing tripping hazards, securing rugs, installing handrails, and ensuring proper lighting, especially in hallways and staircases
  • Regularly review your medications with your healthcare provider to identify any that may cause dizziness or affect balance
  • Schedule regular check-ups with your healthcare provider to address any health conditions that may contribute to falls
  • Schedule regular eye check-ups to ensure optimal vision
  • Undergo a fall risk assessment, especially if you are an older adult, to identify potential hazards and receive tailored recommendations
  • Utilize transfer belts or gait belts if needed for support during transfers, ensuring pathways are clear of obstacles and providing adequate lighting
  • Watch for uneven surfaces, wet floors, or obstacles that could lead to a fall
  • Do not use throw rugs
  • Wear well-fitted shoes with nonslip soles to enhance stability
Fall Safety Practices

Contact Goldberg & Loren’s personal injury attorneys in Wisconsin for a free consultation and take the first step toward the compensation you are owed.

FAQs

If you witness or experience a fall-related emergency in Wisconsin, immediately call 911 or your local emergency services for assistance. Prompt medical attention is vital in such situations to assess and address any severe injuries.

Common risk factors for fatal falls in Wisconsin include but are not limited to a lack of handrails or safety features in homes and public spaces, uneven walking surfaces, poor lighting, slippery floors, impaired mobility or balance, and inadequate fall prevention education and awareness.

Some medical conditions, including arthritis, dementia, stroke, cataracts, and Parkinson's disease, are associated with falls. [2]

Sources:

[1] Older Adult Falls Data | Fall Prevention | Injury Center | CDC. (n.d.). https://www.cdc.gov/falls/data/index.html

[2] Falls in Older Persons: Risk Factors and Prevention. (1992). The Second Fifty Years – NCBI Bookshelf. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK235613/

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