Fall Health News

Falls are a bigger medical problem than many people realize. They account for millions of visits to emergency rooms each year and are the second-leading cause of accidental death in homes and communities.

Of course, falls can be a risk among all age groups, but they are particularly problematic among the elderly. People 65 and older are four times more likely to die from a fall than all other age groups. Often that's because of medical conditions or medications, which make the elderly more prone to falling.

In addition, up to 30 percent of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries, including lacerations, fractures and head traumas. The most common fractures are of the spine, hip, forearm, leg, ankle, pelvis, upper arm and hand.

Fall Prevention Tips

A number of steps can help minimize the risk of falling -- or perhaps minimize the damage that will occur during a fall. The best step is to take great care to make your home as safe as possible. This includes removing as many tripping hazards as possible: items like electrical and phone cords, loose rugs and mats as well as clothes, toys, boxes and shoes that are on the floor or the stairs.

Good lighting is also a key feature for preventing falls in homes, so upgrade or add lighting where needed. Any surface with an incline, like stairs or a ramp, is a risk as well, so add railings to these areas wherever possible. Slipping can also cause falls so the best bet here is to clean up any spills as soon as possible. Anyone who's prone to falls should also choose slip-resistant footwear.

Staying strong and healthy also helps people, especially the elderly, be less prone to falls. Regular exercise can contribute to this and also help make people more able to maintain their balance as they age. Many medications can increase the risk for falling, so anyone's who's fallen or is worried about falling should review all prescriptions with their doctor. Regular eye appointments are also a good idea. Finally, get plenty of vitamin D and calcium to preserve bone health. Anyone with osteoporosis should be under the care of doctor to prevent potential complications from a fall.

SOURCES: National Safety Council, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Date Posted
Article Title
10/23/2017
Ditch the Throw Rugs, Seniors!

Hip fractures are more likely to follow indoor falls in warm weather, study finds

9/30/2017
Risk Assessments Can Help Prevent Falls

Geriatrics specialist offers tips to avoid injuries

9/27/2017
Exercise, Not Vitamin D, Recommended to Prevent Falls

Draft recommendations from influential U.S. panel now await public review

8/29/2017
Smoking Linked to Frailty in Seniors

But study also found those who had quit didn't suffer same fate

8/10/2017
The Right Shoes Can Help Prevent Falls

What you should look for in the shoe store

5/26/2017
Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly People

But study found proper dose of psychiatric drugs might erase that danger

5/2/2017
Sleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older Users

And newer drugs like Ambien, Lunesta are no safer in this regard, review found

4/19/2017
Strength Training Might Help Prevent Seniors' Falls

Exercise helps improve balance and age-related muscle loss, doctor says

4/18/2017
Pot Ingredient Might Ease Severe Epilepsy

Cannabidiol appears to lessen 'drop seizures' for some Lennox-Gastaut syndrome patients, study finds

2/13/2017
Many Seniors Take Multiple Meds That Can Affect the Brain

Psychiatrist cautions doctors and patients to consider risks and benefits of each drug

2/11/2017
How to Stay on Your Feet During Slippery Winter Conditions

Any surfaces that look wet and dark are probably icy, safety experts say

1/30/2017
Snowstorms May Bring Blizzard of Heart Troubles

Study finds higher rate of hospital admissions for heart attack, chest pain 2 days after storm

1/25/2017
Health Tip: Signs of a Sprained Wrist

Symptoms of this common injury

1/7/2017
Timely Tips for Safe Snow Removal

The sedentary are most at risk for injury, doctors say

12/28/2016
Diabetes Takes Biggest Bite Out of U.S. Health Care Spending

Top 5 diseases, conditions accounted for $437 billion in 2013

12/22/2016
Exercise May Be Real Medicine for Parkinson's Disease

Physical activity helps improve gait and balance, research review finds

11/29/2016
Electronic In-Hospital Prescribing: Trouble for Older Adults?

Study found 41 percent of meds that can increase drowsiness were set too high for seniors, linked to accidents

10/6/2016
Older Surgery Patients Should Be Screened for Frailty: Study

Warning signs such as exhaustion increase the risk for bad outcomes, researchers find

9/22/2016
Falls a Growing and Deadly Threat for Older Americans

They cause millions of injuries and soaring health care costs, CDC report shows

9/15/2016
31 Million Older Americans Aren't Getting Enough Exercise

Inactivity boosts their risk for falls, broken bones, serious disease and early death, CDC warns

7/19/2016
Health Tip: Help Prevent Falls

What you can do to remain upright

7/1/2016
How Pregnancy Can Trip You Up

Even in first trimester, center of mass shifts forward, research shows

6/9/2016
Bifocals Might Trip You Up

Some eyeglasses may cause blurry vision, so seniors need to watch their step, researchers say

5/12/2016
Disabling Falls Don't Have to Happen

Expert advice on how seniors can lower their risk

5/5/2016
Poor Vision and Dangerous Falls Plague Many U.S. Seniors

Year-long CDC study finds 1.3 million people over 65 with poor eyesight fell at least once

3/9/2016
Brain Bleed Risk From Warfarin May Be Higher Than Thought

Study of veterans with irregular heartbeat found one-third suffered such incidents while on the drug

2/24/2016
Health Problems Can Plague Seniors After Cancer Surgery

Researchers find falls, broken bones, bed sores more likely in older patients

2/11/2016
Weakened Knees a Big Cause of Falls for Older People: Study

But treatments to improve strength, balance may guard against injuries, disability, researchers say

2/4/2016
Exercise May Prevent Harmful Falls in Men

Males made greater gains than women, study says

1/22/2016
As Winter Storm Targets Eastern U.S., Tips for Stepping Out Safely

Try footwear with good traction and walking carefully with low center of gravity, expert suggests

1/15/2016
Nerve Damage From Chemo May Affect Cancer Survivors for Years

Symptoms associated with falls, researchers say

1/13/2016
Dementia Drug May Lower Risk of Falls Among Parkinson's Patients

Those who took rivastigmine in study were 45 percent less likely to have an accident

12/28/2015
Watch Out for Distracted Walkers

To avoid injury, pedestrians should 'engage with their surroundings,' surgeon says

12/11/2015
Hanging Holiday Lights Holds Hidden Danger, Surgeon Warns

Slips and falls from ladders can result in serious foot and ankle injuries

11/16/2015
Falls, Fights Cause Most Serious Eye Injuries: Study

And cost of treatment in hospitals has jumped in the past decade, researchers add

10/9/2015
Doctors Offer Fall Clean-Up Safety Advice

Take special care when using ladders, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says

10/9/2015
Infections, Not Clumsiness, Cause Many Falls

Illness can lower blood pressure, lead to dizziness, researchers say

8/31/2015
Seniors Often Underestimate Their Frailty, Study Finds

Nearly one-quarter had trouble getting out of hospital bed, walking 10 feet and getting back in bed

8/20/2015
Fewer Seniors Fall While Taking Vitamin D: Study

Homebound elderly might benefit from supplementation, research suggests

6/9/2015
Spinal Cord Injuries Drop Among Young, But Rise Among Older Americans

Falls are the major cause among the elderly, researchers say

6/4/2015
Falls Are Leading Cause of Childhood Injuries, Expert Says

Parents should be particularly careful about windows

5/7/2015
Fall-Related Deaths Nearly Doubled for U.S. Seniors Since 2000

Researchers also report that car crashes cause 1 in 7 unintentional deaths in older Americans

5/6/2015
More Aging Americans Using Canes, Walkers

Many seniors rely on more than one mobility device, study finds

3/23/2015
Exercise, But Not Vitamin D, Cuts Injuries From Falls in Older Women: Study

Neither worked to cut odds for any type of falls, but exercise may help prevent injury if a tumble occurs

3/5/2015
Exercise May Boost Size of Some Brain Regions

But it's not clear if these changes make a difference in aging, researcher says

1/27/2015
Seniors May Keep Falls a Secret

But doctors often able to identify cause of fall and help to prevent another

1/27/2015
Don't Become a Blizzard Casualty

Doctor shares tips for staying warm, avoiding falls

1/25/2015
Watch Out for Falling Icicles

Winter's hazards aren't all underfoot, doctor warns

1/19/2015
Falls on the Rise Among U.S. Seniors

Study found more than a third of people over 65 reporting a fall over the past 2 years

1/17/2015
Take Steps to Avoid Winter Falls

Check the traction of your boots, keep your legs strong