Imagine this: You’re being treated in a hospital emergency room. The medical professional attending to you tries to make ER small talk by asking, “How’d this happen?” And you answer …
… “I was using the toilet.”
You and 32,999 other Americans each year.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 234,000 nonfatal bathroom injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments in 2008.
Of those bathroom injuries, 14.1% occurred when people stood up from, sat down on or were using the toilet.
Injury rates increased with age, from 4.1 per 100,000 among persons age 15-24 to 266.6 per 100,000 among those aged 85 or more.
The CDC says injuries among people aged 65 or older associated with using the toilet might be attributed in part to vasovagal syncope. The condition is a common cause of fainting and can be brought about by relieving oneself.
Standing after prolonged sitting can also result in postural hypotension, a sudden drop in blood pressure that causes light-headedness or dizziness.
Some other stats from the CDC’s bathroom injuries report:
- 81% of all bathroom injuries were caused by falls
- head/neck was the most common body part injured (31%)
- most patients were treated and released, but 13.7% were admitted, and
- bathing, showering or getting out of the tub or shower was the most common cause of bathroom injury (37.3%).
The best prevention steps, especially for people age 65 and above: Install grab bars inside tubs and showers and near toilets, and add anti-slip strips to the bottom of tubs and showers.