Fall Prevention...It's Worth Repeating!
As we age, the risk of falling increases significantly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four older adults fall each year, and falls are the leading cause of injury and death among older adults.
There are many factors that can contribute to the risk of falling as an older adult, including physical and medical conditions, medications, and environmental hazards. Some common physical and medical conditions that can increase the risk of falling include muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination, vision problems, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes and arthritis. Medications can also contribute to the risk of falling, especially if they cause dizziness or impair balance and coordination. Environmental hazards, such as cluttered living spaces, slippery surfaces, and lack of handrails, can also increase the risk of falling.
The consequences of falling as an older adult can be serious and potentially life-threatening. Falls can result in broken bones, head injuries, and other serious injuries, and can lead to hospitalization and long-term disability. In severe cases, falls can even be fatal.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among adults aged 65 and older. In fact, falls are responsible for over 95% of all hip fractures in this age group.
The cost of falls among older adults is significant. According to the CDC, the total cost of fall injuries among older adults in the United States was $50 billion in 2015. This includes the cost of medical care, long-term care, and lost productivity due to disability.
Older adults who have fallen once are at increased risk of falling again in the future. In fact, those who have fallen once are two to three times more likely to fall again compared to those who have not fallen.
Falls are preventable. By taking steps to address physical and medical conditions and manage medications safely, and by making your living environment safer, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling.
There are several physical factors that can increase the risk of falling in the human body. These include:
Muscle weakness: As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and strength, which can impair our ability to balance and maintain our posture. This can increase the risk of falls.
Poor balance and coordination: Balance and coordination can be impaired by a variety of factors, including muscle weakness, vision problems, and certain medical conditions such as stroke, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
Vision problems: Poor vision can make it more difficult to see hazards and navigate your environment, increasing the risk of falls.
Chronic conditions: Certain chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease, can increase the risk of falls by impairing balance, coordination, and mobility.
Medications: Some medications, particularly those that cause dizziness or drowsiness, can impair balance and coordination and increase the risk of falls.
Vestibular conditions, which are disorders of the inner ear and balance system, can increase the risk of falls in seniors. These conditions can cause dizziness, vertigo, and impaired balance and coordination, which can make it more difficult to navigate your environment and increase the risk of falls.
Central nervous system conditions, such as stroke and Parkinson's disease, can also increase the risk of falls in seniors. These conditions can affect balance, coordination, and mobility, making it more difficult to maintain your posture and navigate your environment.
To reduce the risk of falls in seniors with vestibular or central nervous system conditions, it is important to address any underlying medical issues and manage them effectively. Physical therapy and exercises to improve balance and coordination can also be helpful in reducing the risk of falls. In addition, it is important to make your living environment as safe as possible by removing tripping hazards and installing handrails and non-slip mats, if needed.
The bottom line is that I will continue to repeat all of this super-important information over and over again for you to hopefully read so that you don't repeat a fall or encounter your first fall.
This information is worth repeating!!
Achieva Rehab specializes in helping people regain (yes! regain) their balance so that they can live a happy life without worry!