Article from: orthoinfo.aaos.org/Guidelines for Preventing Falls
Falls can happen anytime and anywhere to people of any age. However, as people get older, the number of falls and the severity of injury resulting from falls increases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in people age 65 and older. Common injuries due to falls are head injuries, shoulder and forearm fractures, spine fractures, pelvic fractures, and hip fractures.
There is a pattern to falls among the elderly: The fear of falling, then the injury, followed by hospitalization, decreased independence and mobility, and often relocation to a nursing or residential institution.
Falls can be a major life-changing event that robs the elderly of their independence.
Fortunately, many falls can be prevented with healthy lifestyle choices and safety modifications in the home.
Facts about Falls and the Elderly
- Each year, one out of three adults age 65 and older falls, according to the CDC.
- In 2000, falls among older adults cost the U.S. healthcare system more than $19 billion, according to the CDC. That equals more than $28.2 billion in 2010 dollars.
- According to the National Hospital Discharge Survey, more than 90% of hip fractures are caused by falling. Three-quarters of all hip fractures occur in women.
- Approximately 25% of hip fracture patients will make a full recovery; 40% will require nursing home admission; 50% will be dependent upon a cane or a walker; and 20% will die within one year of the fall.
Dizziness is a common problem that can affect a person at any age. There are many reasons for dizziness, some more serious than others. One common, easily treatable cause of transient dizziness is called “benign paroxysmal positional vertigo,” or BPPV. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo causes dizziness related to head movement and position and is due to a problem in the inner ear. Dizziness can negatively affect one’s quality of life and is associated with an increased risk of falls. This may be especially problematic for older people, who have a greater chance of falling and breaking bones. Recovering from a fracture can be particularly difficult for someone who is elderly.
Adults know that carrying a huge load on their backs may do harm over time. But children continue to walk around with monstrous backpacks on during the school year. In a study conducted by Spine Magazine, 80 percent of surveyed children said that their backpacks were heavy. Worse, 65 percent of them felt their backpacks caused them fatigue and 46 percent said they had back pain due to the heavy load. What can you do?
Select a More Appropriate Backpack
Do you give your heart enough TLC? Since heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men and women, you don’t want to become a statistic. Take stock of how you care for your body’s blood-pumping powerhouse.
While you can’t control some heart disease risk factors – like age, family history, race or gender – you can control others, such as smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, physical inactivity and uncontrolled stress.
Knowing you can make a life-saving difference puts you in the driver’s seat when it comes to preventing heart disease. It all boils down to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But how? Continue reading