This study was designed to assessment the fall risk in patient with diabetes patients and to ascertain the extent to which diabetic complications and diabetic foot might be contributing factors to this risk. The sample of this descriptive, cross-sectional study consisted of 300 patients with diabetes who had been referred to department of diabetes and endocrinology at a university hospital in the south of Turkey. Data were collected using, the “Patient Information Form,” “Turkish - Morse Fall Scale,” and the "Diabetes Foot Risk Assessment Tool.” Balance was assessed using the modified “Flamingo balance test.” The mean age of the patients was 59.7±16.5 years, 58.7% of which were women. The mean number of years since the onset of diabetes was 13.3±10.0 years, while mean HbA1c levels were 9.0±2.3%. For most of the patients (64.3%), the risk of falling was high. The patients scored poorly on the Flamingo balance test. A significant relationship was found between the risk of falling and insulin use, obesity, neuropathy, nephropathy, high risk of developing diabetic foot, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular illness, foot deformation, reduction of sensation in the foot, and the absence of peripheral pulse (p<.001). A moderately positive relationship was found between falling risk and age (r = .427, p<.001) and number of years since the onset of diabetes (r=.409, p<.001), and a weak positive one between falling risk and weight (r=.159, p<.01). This study determined that most diabetic patients had a high risk of falling and that the micro and macrovascular complications of diabetes increasing falling risk. Moreover, patients with diabetic foot risk had a high risk of falling. Consequently, it is recommended that complications be delayed by achieving metabolic control, foot health be improved, and strength and balance exercises be performed.
Diabetes mellitus; falls; risk factors; diabetic foot