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    Fatal falls on the rise for seniors

a senior or older woman having fallen down some stairs, holding her knee and possibly injured, and being helped up by a man, a Good Samaritan

More older Americans are reportedly dying after from falling. Many of these deaths are related to hip fractures and traumatic brain injuries that patients don't recover from.

At study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association states that fatal falls have nearly tripled in older Americans during a 16-year span, rising to more than 25,000 deaths yearly.

The circumstances were not included in the study, but in a news report, Elizabeth Burns, a study co-author said, "Deaths from falls may have increased because older people are living longer, living longer independently, and are living longer with chronic conditions. Also, some medications can make older adults prone to falls." Burns is a health scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This study points to the importance of fall prevention, which includes exercises to build muscle strength and balance. Dr. Robert Wermers, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, has conducted fall prevention research and says tai chi is a low-impact balance exercise that can reduce falls and prevent life-impairing bone fractures in seniors.

Watch: The Mayo Clinic Minute.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video pkg (0:59) is in the downloads at the end of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network." Read the script.