Deaths from falls among older Americans are on the rise

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New research shows fatal falls have nearly tripled in older Americans in recent years, rising to more than 25,000 annual deaths.

   The findings highlight the importance of fall prevention. A separate study bolsters evidence that programs focusing on improving muscle strength and balance can help achieve that goal.

   Both studies were published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

   Circumstances weren't included in the data, but traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures leading to steep health declines are among causes of death in older adults who fall.

   Potential reasons for the trend include more older adults living longer into frail old age and rising use of medications affecting balance.