Falls and older adults
One in three people over the age of 65 fall annually. With the rising of the age, the possibilities of falling too increases and similarly, the consequences such as body malfunctions. In the older people, falls cannot be avoided but can be prevented. The old adage can sum it all; an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
People fall for varying reasons that are attributed by risk causes such as personal ones including physical and medical, or at some cases, environmental factors. Some of the personal causes that lead to falls include arthritis, neurological or weak muscles. Some of the environmental causes that lead to falls include: slippery floors and verandahs, staircases that don’t have handrails and bathrooms that are not fitted with grab bars, and rooms with low lighting.
Falls affect people in various ways. Some are petty like bruises or cuts, or they can be serious head concussions but in whatever way they occur they mostly affect the well-being of those involved. If the concussions happen to occur as a result of falls they can make the affected be bed-ridden or life-long disabilities. Fractures can occur in the spinal cord, pelvic girdle or even exterior organs such as hands.
Hip fractures are very frequent and very severe .They lead to one being hospitalized though after good medical care that affected can resume their normal activities. However, some are unfortunate and they become dependent on others and need life-long medical attention. Osteoporosis can be determined if it occurs on someone through medical tests that use x-rays to determine the strength of ones bones. Osteoporosis is the loss of the bone mass. It mostly affects women more so who are small in size and have got thin bones. Moreover, women of Caucasian or Asian origin have higher risks.
Bone health can be increased by eating sufficient calcium and vitamin D and physical fitness. Some other habits such as not smoking and little intake of alcohol can improve bone health. There can also be medicines that are prescribed by doctors that lessen the bone loss and in turn help bone renewal. To keep the bones strong a daily calcium consummation of 1200 mg to both men women over 50 is needed.
Medications increase the risk of falling to people being prescribed to over four drugs. Talking and taking the drugs with you to the doctor about change of medications is important. Physical activity doesn’t increase the risks of falling but in any case, reduces the risks as the physical strain strengthens the muscles. Exercise prevents falls by keeping not only the muscles but also the bones strong. On the other side, the joints and sinews are kept flexible.
Physical activity prevents fractures by lessening the bone loss and rebuilding other ones. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese technique of applying slow, graceful movements that match up with both mind and body. It helps falls by advancing the might, stability, stance, arrangement and concentration of mind and the body. Exercise and older adults can be learned from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/exerciseforolderadults/toc.html or the book, The National Institute on Aging. Vision falls can lead to falls such as glaucoma, cataracts and no visual sharpness. Vision-related falls can be prevented by regular medical check-ups. Shoes that prevent falls are: those low-heeled that fully support feet and those that fit perfectly. Most falls happen at home.
Prevention of home falls can be done by removal of objects from the walkways and proper furniture arrangement. Good lighting prevents falls such as bulbs with the highest wattage and bulbs at the top and the bottom of the stairs. Some of the devices that can be used to prevent falls are: “reachers” and grabbers. While outdoor, being careful can prevent falls. A cane can help avoid falls can it greatly depends on the nature of the instability.
If a cane is needed, the size that’s proportional to one; that is the top part of the cane should be wrist-level when the arm is hanging down. A walker can be recommended to prevent falls by giving larger base support. The best kind can be recommended by therapists but four-wheeled can be handy when no reliance of the walker for balance is needed. Two-wheeled and double-tipped can adjust depending on where the weight is applied. If one falls, one should stay calm by taking a few deep breaths. If hurt one is supposed to ask for aid or call the emergency number 911.
Upon falling, it is recommendable to tell the doctor where when and how so that the doctor can figure out medical attention. The fear of falling can be coped by maintaining physical fitness and averting future falls. One feels dizzy after standing up because of the drop in the blood pressure upon standing (postural hypotension).If there are complications in stability, dizziness or life threat, it is good to call emergency systems. More about learning can be learned from Medline Plus.
Retrieved on June 15th 2011, from http://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/faq/faqlist.html