Even though most falls, even in older adults, do not result in serious injury, the risk of a fall as well as the risk of injury from a fall increase after the age of about 65. In older adults, physiological changes like slowed reflexes and trouble with balance increase the risk of experiencing a fall, while increased incidence of diseases and conditions like osteoporosis and vision changes both increase the risk of a fall and the risk of being injured in a fall.
Even a fall that does not cause injury can lead to a fear of falling that can result in loss of confidence and self-imposed activity restrictions, that can actually further increase fall risk, as lack of physical activity is one risk factor. Call 02 9938 5456 now for a free 10 minute introductory consultation to assess your falls risk and to discuss what can be done to reduce it.
While there are some risk factors that are nearly unavoidable, it is possible to minimize fall risk, so you can remain active as for decades. Read through the following factors to get an idea of your own fall risk:
Previous falls – As many as half of people who experience a fall have had at least one previous fall. If you’ve experienced one or more falls in the past, your fall risk is significantly increased.
Medications – Many medications can have side effects such as dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion that can increase the risk of a fall.
Exercise – A sedentary lifestyle increases fall risk. Engaging in some type of physical activity for at least 30 minutes every day, and in exercise that promotes balance and strength at least 2-3 times a week can reduce your risk of a fall.
Balance and walking – If you have trouble getting up from a sitting position, have problems with balance, or have pain, numbness, or tingling in your feet, your fall risk is increased.
Vision – If you have trouble with your eyesight, especially if you have trouble even with corrective lenses, or if it’s been over a year since your last eye exam, your fall risk is increased.
Health conditions – Cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, impaired lung functions, diabetes, and many neurological diseases can all cause dizziness, lightheadedness, or confusion that can increase fall risk. Even incontinence can cause you to rush for the bathroom, which can increase your risk.
Diet – Symptoms of nutrient deficiencies can include dizziness and increase fall risk, while some deficiencies, particularly calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, can decrease bone density, which can increase your risk of injury. Unintended weight loss can be a sign of malnutrition, while decrease in appetite, and trouble chewing or swallowing your food can all contribute to malnutrition.
Environment – Stairs and trip hazards such as loose rugs and items left on the floor can all increase the risk of a fall. Minimizing trip hazards, especially on or near stairs can reduce your risk of an injurious fall. If you live in a multi-story home, consider rearranging your home to minimize your need to use the stairs, or investing in a lift chair to make navigating stairs easier and safer.
If you have any concerns regarding your fall risk, call NeuroBalance Chiropractic on 02 9938 5456 to schedule an appointment for a fall risk assessment. We will review your personal and medical history with you and discuss how each of the above factors affects your personal fall risk.
Our naturopath, Eliza Blackwood, offers testing to identify nutritional deficiencies, and offer nutritional counseling to help you get the most out of your diet. Our chiropractors will also assess your gait, balance, strength, and other factors and can recommend exercises and other treatment to help increase your strength and improve your balance so you can move around more confidently. Call 02 9938 5456 now for a free 10 minute introductory consultation.