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Importance of fall prevention, especially among the elderly Print E-mail

By William Dizon
Physician's Assistant to Dr. Reynolds


With the nation's population aging, fall prevention has become a large focus in medicine today. According to the CDC, one out of three adults 65 and older fall each year.  

The WHO Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age stated that 28-35% of people aged 65 and over fall each year. If you're 70 or older, that increases to 32-42%.

Furthermore, the CDC states that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in individuals 85 and older. A fall could greatly affect your lifestyle, leading to a disability or more importantly, a loss of independence and ability to care for yourself.

It’s important to understand common causes of falls. Your eyesight, hearing, and reflexes play a major role in the cause of a fall. Side effects of medications could affect your balance, as well as health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, thyroid issues and circulation.

Last but not least, simple things such as wearing shoes, tripping hazards in the home, and the lack of use of assistive devices greatly affect your risk of falling.
Several organizations provide simple guidelines for fall prevention. An article from the Mayo Clinic describes six important tips to prevent falls, with a focus on consulting with doctors to optimize the use medications, wearing the right shoes, and proper use of assistive devices. Another good reference guide from the National Institute of Health on Aging (NIH)

mentions similar aspects of fall prevention, and includes other preventative measures such as home improvements.   
With the population steadily increasing in age, the focus is now turning into improving care for the geriatric population. Thus, the significance of fall prevention is paramount.

References:
http://www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/falls-and-fractures
WHO GLOBAL REPORT ON FALLS PREVENTION IN OLDER AGE
http://www.fallpreventioninc.com/stats/
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fall-prevention/HQ00657


 

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