Showing posts with label how to prevent a broken bone. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to prevent a broken bone. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Death from Falls Can Be Prevented
In 2013, an estimated 25,464 senior citizens died from a fall.  Approximately 2.5 million more were injured.  Of those, 734,000 people required hospitalization.  Shockingly, one in three adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall every year and a significant of them will suffer serious injuries, including broken hips or head trauma.  Medical costs for falling amount to over $30 billion a year.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that these numbers may double in the next five years as our population ages.  In addition, falls are also a major reason for emergency room visits for people in the 45 to 64 age group, so problems are not limited only to those in the 65 and over age group.

Researchers have studied this problem extensively and they have discovered that certain programs are effective in preventing falls.  However, there is virtually no government support for these programs, which means they are not always available in the communities where they are needed.  When they are available, the programs are usually sponsored by local hospitals, community groups and agencies.

Even if you do not believe you are at risk of falling, accidents can happen to anyone.  In addition, you may have a spouse or other family member who could be injured from a fall.  Everyone should be aware of the causes and how to reduce the risk.

Why Senior Citizens Fall

There are a number of reasons why people fall, regardless of their age ... although the problems associated with falling are more serious in senior citizens.  Some of the more common causes are:

Inner-ear Problems
Diabetes - Particularly for those who suffer from Neuropathy
Illnesses that cause patients to feel weak, dizzy or shaky
Medications - People should be especially concerned about sleeping medications or those that lower blood pressure or cause dizziness

How to Prevent Falls

Fortunately, there are steps everyone can take to dramatically lower their risk of falling.  Below are some suggestions you can implement yourself.

Attend the CDC program called "Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries" (STEADI).  Contact your local hospital or senior center to see when a class will be held in your community.

Attend a Balance Training Program.  Many senior centers and communities offer separate balance classes or include balance training in their yoga, Tai Chi, Pilates, dance and other exercise classes for seniors.

Practice balance exercises at home including:

* Standing on one leg for 30 seconds at a time
* Walk heel to toe along a straight line on the floor
* Practice sitting and standing from a chair to build leg and core muscle strength

Eliminate or avoid danger zones in your home, especially:

* Potentially icy areas outside your home in cold weather
* Anything in your home or yard that could trip you -- wires, plants, furniture legs, etc.
* Loose rugs or carpeting
* Slippery floors like polished hardwood or wet floors in the bathroom and kitchen

Other ways to reduce falls include:

*  Installing grab bars in your shower or around your bathtub.
*  Giving up your high heels.
*  Having someone move items from high shelves and placing them where they are within easy reach.
*  Avoiding risky behaviors such as climbing on ladders or standing on chairs to reach high items.

Finally, watch your medications and read the package inserts.  Pay close attention to the possibility of falling because of the prescription drugs you are taking.  Many medications can lower your blood pressure and make you dizzy, especially when you first get out of bed in the morning or get up from a chair.  Take things slowly and make sure you feel OK before making any sudden moves.  Talk to your doctor about your dosage levels or ask about alternative medications if one you are taking seems to make you especially dizzy.

If you are interested in learning more about how to take care of your health as you age, where to retire, financial planning or family relationships, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Prevent a Broken Bone or Hip Fractures

You Can Protect Your Bones
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Learning how to prevent hip fractures, as well as any other type of broken bone, is something everyone needs to think about as we age.  According to research published in JAMA, "The Journal of the American Medical Association," in 2009, there are about 300,000 Americans over the age of 65 who suffer a hip fracture every year.  Of these, about 20% to 30% of them will die within a year.  This is a pretty harsh statistic and the numbers have undoubtedly grown since this research was done.

However, as grim as these statistics sound, there are ways you can reduce the chances that you will fall, suffer a fractured hip, and destroy your health.  Below are some simple steps which everyone should take, beginning before they even retire.

How to Prevent Hip Fractures and Broken Bones

1.  Request a bone-density test from your doctor.  Not only has my doctor ordered these medical tests for me about every five years, I've even had these tests performed at free health clinics at my retirement community and senior center.  The test is completely pain free, and it is the best way to find out if you have started to develop osteoporosis.

2.  Get exercise.  Building up your muscles, improving your balance, and increasing your flexibility are all ways to protect your bones and decrease the likelihood that you will lose your balance and have a hard fall.  Weight bearing exercises, such as walking, are also good ways to strengthen you bones.

3.  Eat right and take supplements. According to a November, 2011 article in AARP Magazine, in order to stay healthy you should consume at least 46 grams of protein a day, as well as take in 12 mg. of calcium and at least 600 - 800 mg. of Vitamin D.  People who do these things are about half as likely to suffer a hip fracture.

4.  Have a fall-risk assessment and physical examination.  Talk to your doctor about your medications and dizzy spells.  Ask him if any of your medications could make your dizzy or create balance problems. Get your eyes checked regularly.

5.  Take a hard look at your home.  Do you have objects, electrical cords or rugs which could cause you to slip or trip?  Is your home well-lit?  Do you have grab bars in the shower and bath enclosures?  Do you put items such as your shoes away so you do not trip over them after removing them?  Setting books, shoes, or other items on the floor in areas where you walk could easily turn a safe area into an unsafe one.

6.  Do not take unnecessary risks.  Avoid walking on ice or walking up and down stairs without using a handrail.  My husband and I recently attended a play, and a woman fell down the stairs as we were leaving.  She was not using the handrail.  Do not take chances.  Fractures can happen to anyone.

Remember:  Preventing a broken bone is much easier than healing broken bones.

If you are looking for additional information for Baby Boomers, including about health concerns, where to retire, financial planning, Social Security, Medicare or more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of this page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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