“With rise in average age that pushed population of elderly people upward, the problems of ill health, loneliness and lack of support are also on increase among aging people. What has been noted in this group is that trivial injury also causes mortality and morbidity.”
Dr. Gauri Joshi, senior consultant-Neurosurgery stated this while addressing a health talk on ‘Head injuries in aging people’ at Alchemist Hospital today.
She said , apart from limb and spinal fractures, head trauma is one of the common injuries due to falls. Unlike the high impact or collision road side accidents which occur in all the age groups, especially the young, head injury and its consequences occur in the old due to trivial falls.
Talking about causes of injuries, Dr. Joshi said that fall in washroom is common among ageing people. Due to frequent getting up in the night for urination, the chances of fall especially in the dark increases. Many of these patients are on medications for blood pressure, diabetes and heart ailments. Due to sudden rising from the bed, some may develop giddiness and fall. Sometimes these patients have decreased sensations in feet and neuropathy which ,increases the chance of head injury. Sometimes due to imbalance, some patients bang their head against a wall or a door.
They can also sustain injuries while riding two wheeler or pillion rider besides other regular causes of road side accidents and assault.
One of the commonest consequences of head trauma in the elderly is the development of chronic subdural hematoma. Reason: As age progresses, there is shrinkage of brain. The surface veins from the brain surface to the dural covering of the brain get taut and thin. They rupture following a trauma and a subdural hematoma develops. This is further accelerated by the fact that many of these patients are on blood thinners.
Talking about prevention and precautions she said that it is very important for the elderly to take a stock of their present situation. Just because they were doing things in their earlier age, there is no guarantee that they can do things with the same efficiency.