Community Magazine

Head-to-Toe Risks for Falls

By Thegenaboveme @TheGenAboveMe

Head-to-Toe Risks for Falls

Photo by sheilaz413

People will mention that a parent or grandparent has starting falling with frequency.  The cause for such falls can be manifold.  The older adult should see a professional for an assessment since the cause might be difficult for the individual or the caregiver to discern. If the person has fallen twice in six months, it's a problem that needs professional intervention.  
The CDC reports multiple statistics about falls, including this: "Among older adults (those 65 or older), falls are the leading cause of injury death. They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma" (emphasis added).  One of the most effective means of fall prevention is activity, including strength-bearing exercises that help the muscles, joints, and bones work properly. However, falls can have causes that cannot be addressed through a fitness regime. 
Here is a list, organized head-to-to, for some of the more common causes for falls:
Cognition Problems Vision Problems
Gastrointestinal Problems Cardiovascular / Respiratory Problems
Joint / Muscle Problems Foot Problems Complex Factors
Environmental Problems
Cognition Problems
Anxiety Delirium Depression Dementia Drug’s side effects or skipping medication Polypharmacy (taking four or more medications) Slowing reaction time
Vision Problems: Needing new glasses Glaucoma Cataracts Inability to judge distances
Gastero-Intestinal Problems: Anemia Malnutrition Low-blood Sugar from diabetes/hypoglycemia Dehydration Alcohol intake
Cardiovascular / Respiratory Problems: Low-blood pressure (postural hypotention) COPD Arrythmia and other heart problems
Joint / Muscle Problems Arthritis in hands, hips, legs Hip replacement Knee replacement Muscle wasting from inactivity Parkinson’s disease
Foot Problems: Neuropathy Poor foot care Ill-fitting shoes
Complex Factors: Some risks are a combination of changes in many of these body systems, resulting in a change in cognition, sensing, balance and gait—such as when someone suffers a stroke or if they accrue several age-related problems in the body such as diabetes, arthritis, and polypharmacy.   Or a single problem, such as syncope (the loss of consciousness) can have multiple causes, such as heart problems.  Again, see your physician to accurately pinpoint the cause for falling.
External Problems: Some risks for falling are external to the body, such as poor lighting, clutter on the floor, a wet floor or even household pets that get underfoot.   Change the environment to reduce risks and also add grab bars and increase the height of toilets and chairs. 
Is It Dementia or Just Delirium?

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog