Did you know that every second of every day in the U.S., an older adult takes a fall?
Falls are the #1 cause of injuries and deaths from injury among seniors.
They are a dangerous threat.
Not only can a fall mean serious complications or even loss of life… one often signals a loss of independence.
The last straw.
According to the National Council on aging, one in four Americans over the age of 65 will experience a fall this year.
And, by 2030, 49 million older Americans will fall.
You would think with falls being so prevalent, doctors would make fall prevention a priority with their patients.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that physicians routinely failed to perform basic interventions to help prevent falls.
That means reducing your risk is up to you.
Here are a few ways you can help reduce your risk of a fall…
First thing you want to do is take a hard look at the medications you take.
All too often, dizziness is a reaction… one with very dangerous consequences.
Sleeping pills and pains pills are two types of drugs that increase your risk of falling.
Also, a class of drugs called anticholinergics have been associated with a higher risk of falls.
Some cold medicines and drugs that control bladder problems fall into this class of drug.
If you’re taking one of these types of drugs, talk to your doctor about other alternatives.
You also want closely monitor your blood pressure levels.
So often the focus is on blood pressure that is too high. However, if your blood pressure is too low, you get dizzy and fall.
Also, take a walk around your house for potential fall hazards.
Do you have any rugs that curl up, or slide? Are there pet toys out in the open, where you could stumble?
What about your stair railings? Are they strong, secure?
It’s impossible to remove all fall risks from your home, but you can make it far safer.
Tighten things that need tightening. Remove slippery rugs. Nail down loose carpet corners, and pick up trip hazards from your floor.
How are your eyes? When’s the last time you had them looked at?
Impaired vision can make it difficult to spot fall threats like curbs, steps, puddles and thresholds.
Regular exercise can help prevent falls.
But not just any exercise.
While walking offers many health benefits, it won’t improve balance unless you’ve been mostly sedentary.
To prevent falls, you need exercises that focus on strength and balance… like tai chi.
Your community center, local YMCA, or even area hospital probably offer free classes. Check them out.
Finally, there’s one other thing even some doctors are beginning to suggest to reduce your risk of falls… vitamin D.
Several trials have found vitamin D supplementation helps increase muscle strength and reduce the risk of falling in both men and women.
A bunch of little things could mean the difference between independence or something terrible.
But an ounce of prevention today could keep you from becoming another fall statistic.
Editor, Patriot Health Alliance