Are You At Risk For Falls and Ultimately, Fall-Related Injuries?
By Biagio Mazza
The first thing we're going to talk about with respect to falls is really what is your risk for falls, and what are the risk factors that people have for falls. The unfortunate thing is that one of every three Americans over the age of 65 fall each year...
And there's a high percentage of those that it becomes a fall that has an injury to it and unfortunately the series of events that occur with falls can be catastrophic.
So it's not the case for every single fall, obviously, but it still is a huge issue in the United States.
So what risk factors might be something that you could point to to say, "Hey, I'm potentially a fall risk."
Here are four telling factors that you may be at risk for falls:
- Fear of falling
- Taking any four medications at one time
- A history of falls
- Difficulty with vision, or inner ear issues
Let's dive into each factor a little further...
Well one believe it or not is just a fear of falling. If you are scared or you're thinking about falling, there usually is something intuitively that you've picked up on that makes sense with that and is a sign that you may be a fall risk.
A second factor is taking any four medications at a time. So it doesn't matter what combination, if you take four or more medications that increases your risk of falls.
The third is a history of falls. So if you've fallen in the past, there is a much higher likelihood that you will fall again. So if you have a fall history, your risk for falling again is fairly high.
And then the final risk factor that I want to mention was difficulty with vision or inner ear issues. So if you have difficulty with vision, if you have difficulty with your vestibular system, kind of the control of where you are in space, those are both risk factors.
There are a number of additional risk factors including diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, any number of things, but those listed above are the biggies.
So if you fall into those categories make sure you keep watching and kind of keep an eye out for some self-testing tips and some home exercises that you could do to help improve your balance.