Reduce Your Risks of Falls and Fractures

Category: Metabolic Bone Disease Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2008 Written by Yong Tsai, MD

Normal bone is dense and strong and able to withstand regular daily stresses and strains without breaking. However, a bone affected by osteoporosis is very porous, meaning thin and weak, and thus very susceptible to fracture. Most osteoporotic fractures of the hips are the result of a fall, of which at least one-third affected our elderly involved risk factors that could have been prevented. By making some of the following changes, you can lower your risk of falling.

Eliminate hazardous environments from your home to reduce your chance of falling and the risk of fracture by repairing cracks and abrupt edges on sidewalks and driveways.  Make sure that there are handrails in place to help steady yourself when climbing stairs.  Clean all spills immediately, remove obstacles from walkways keeping them free of clutter, secure mats and rugs by taping or tacking them to the floor, keep walkways well light, make sure you have easy assess to light switches and phones, and remove any loose electrical or telephone cords from pathways.

A few other suggestions are to install shower, tub or toilet rails, a tub seat, and a raised toilet seat.  Don't wax the floor and be sure the floor is not wet or slippery.  Know where your pet is so that you do not trip or fall over it. Watch for wet, irregular, or uneven surfaces.  You can even consider using a cane or a walker if your balance is poor and if you fall frequently for extra support and stability. Also, it is important to be careful when and where you take medication in case you feel dizzy or drowsy.  It's important to report any adverse reaction and side effects of the medication to your physician.

Last, but not least, one of the most important ways to reduce your chances of falling is to exercise three times a week for better physical fitness.  It makes you stronger and helps you feel better. Exercises that improve balance and coordination, like Tai Chi or Yoga are the most helpful. Failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and flexibility, which is a risk for falling.

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