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Preliminary evaluation of the prevalence of falls, pain and urinary incontinence in remote living Indigenous Australians over the age of 45 years

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Aims:  To report on the prevalence of falls, urinary incontinence, pain and associated factors in remote living Indigenous Australians over the age of 45 years.

Methods:  A cross‐sectional, semi‐purposeful sample of 363 indigenous men and women aged over 45 years living in six remote communities and one town in Kimberley, Australia. Participants were assessed for self‐ or informant‐reported rates of falls, urinary incontinence and pain.

Results:  The prevalence of self‐ or informant‐reported falls was 31% (95% CI 25.3, 36.7), pain 55% (95% CI 47.4, 62.6) and urinary incontinence 9% (95% CI 5.9, 12.1%). Associations with falls after adjustment for age, sex and education included alcohol use (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.4, 4.2), stroke (OR 2.4, 95% CI 1.1, 5.0), epilepsy (OR 3.5, 95% CI 1.1, 11.6), head injury (OR 2.1, 95% CI 1.3, 3.3) and poor hearing (OR 2.5, 95% CI 1.4, 4.1); for urinary incontinence epilepsy (OR 6.0, 95% CI 1.7, 21.2) and stroke (OR 16.7, 95% CI 6.0, 46.3); and for pain, poor hearing (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.0, 3.3) and female sex (OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.2, 2.7).

Conclusions:  Falls, urinary incontinence and pain are common and reported for the first time in older indigenous people living in remote regions. The presence of these syndromes in ages over 45 may be due to accumulation of health insults during the life course.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia

Publication date: June 1, 2012

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