A fall can change your life. It can lead to disability and a loss
of independence. If your bones are fragile from osteoporosis, you
could break a bone, often a hip. But aging alone doesn’t make
people fall. Diabetes
and heart disease affect balance. As do problems with circulation,
thyroid or nervous systems. Some medicines make people dizzy. Eye
problems or alcohol can be factors. Any of these can make a fall
more likely. Taking care of your health by exercising and getting
regular eye exams and physicals may help reduce your chance of falling.
Getting rid of tripping hazards in your home and wearing nonskid
shoes may also help. To reduce the chances of breaking a bone if
you do fall, make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D.
More than one in three people age 65 years or older fall each year.
The risk of falling -- and fall-related problems -- increases with
age. Fractures caused by falls can lead to hospital stays and disability.
Fall-related fractures are most common in the hip, pelvis, spine,
arm, hand, or ankle.
Hip fractures are one of the most serious types of fall injury and
are a leading cause of injury and loss of independence, among seniors.
Only half of older adults hospitalized
for a broken hip can return home or live on their own after the
If you’re worried about falling, talk with your
doctor or another health care provider. You may be referred to a
physical therapist. Physical therapy can help you improve your balance
and walking and help build your walking confidence. Getting rid
of your fear of falling can help you to stay active.
Maintain your physical health, and prevent
Exercise to improve your balance and strengthen your muscles helps
to prevent falls. Not wearing bifocal or multifocal glasses when
you walk, especially on stairs, will reduce the risk of a fall.
You can also make your home safer by removing loose rugs, adding
handrails to stairs and hallways, and making sure you have adequate
lighting in dark areas.
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