Don't Let Falls Get You Down

Don't Let Falls Get You Down

Age should not be the reason older adults fall, it is only a small risk factor.

Did you know that falls are one of the most common events that threaten the independence of older adults? Complications of falls are the leading cause of death from injury in people 65 years of age and older.

1 in 3 adults 65 years and older reports falling each year

About 5-10% of the time when an older adult falls they end up with a broken bone or head trauma possibly resulting in:

Unfortunately, up to 20% of patients who break a hip due to a fall die within the first year after their fall, and up to 50% lose their independence completely.

So Why do older adults fall?

The risk of falls increases with the number of risk factors associated with falls

Risk Factors Associated with falls

How can medications increase a person’s risk for falling?

In my experience as a geriatric physician, what I see is that as we age, we accumulate more medicine. This is likely because as we age, we may develop high blood pressure, cholesterol issues, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and on and on. Older adults are at risk for polypharmacy, the main definition of this word is taking 5 or more medications. As the number of medications increases so does the risks for falls. Some medications are more likely to increase an older adult’s risk of falling than others. Specific classes of medications that can increase risk of falling include:

Can doctors help decrease or prevent falls?

The answer to this question is yes!

As a Geriatrician I often evaluate patients for falls. Geriatricians can partner with physical, occupational therapists and pharmacists and take a team approach to help decrease the risk of falls in a fall clinic setting. As part of a fall clinic evaluation patients are seen by the doctor, the therapist and pharmacist. The fall clinic team then meets with the patient to discuss patient specific risk factors, and an approach to decrease or eliminate fall risks. A fall evaluation includes the following:

I hope that the information provided in this blog was educational and provided some encouragement. I am often bothered when I see a patient who tells me they were told they fall because they are old. Addressing the reasons that increase a person’s risk of falling can decrease and prevent falls, but more importantly ensure they remain functional and independent.

Consider addressing some of the environmental hazards that can increase your risk of falling:

I hope you enjoyed this post. Golden Oak Medicine PLLC is located in Asheville, NC, we provide primary care services to adults aged 55 years and older.

Don't Let Falls Get You Down

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