Background: Aging with diabetic neuropathy is likely to predispose people to falls. De-spite being a high-risk population, estimates of falls and their associated factors are poorly docu-mented in elderly diabetic neuropathy patients living in coastal Karnataka, India. Objective: To investigate fear of falling and functional mobility, as an approximate measure of clinical fall risk, and explore the associated risk factors in elderly diabetic neuropathy patients living in coastal Karnataka, India. Methods: A hospital-based cross-sectional study was conducted on 316 elders aged 60 to 80 with diabetic neuropathy. A detailed diabetic foot evaluation was done. Self-reported fear of fall and functional mobility was measured using the Falls Efficacy Scale-International and Timed Up and Go test, respectively, with published cut-points. Additionally, a recall of 12 months of fall history was recorded. Results: Descriptive analysis showed that self-reported fear of fall and below-average functional mobility was present in 39% and 49% of the elders with diabetic neuropathy, respectively. Spearman's correlational analysis revealed that self-reported fall concerns and functional mobility are significantly interdependent. Regression analysis suggested female gender, the severity of neu-ropathy, and previous falls as significant modifiers for fear of falls and poor functional mobility. Conclusion: Half of the elders (49%) with diabetic neuropathy have poor functional mobility and 39% have a fear of falling. Improving physical function and addressing fall concerns of elders with diabetic neuropathy can result in greater confidence to participate in everyday activities and contribute to their better health. Hence, early fall risk identification is recommended for providing better health care to these individuals.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Geriatrics and Gerontology