Even though falls for most people don’t cause serious injury, they can be fatal and are a major cause of death and injury. Head injuries are not uncommon and thigh and hip fractures are other common injuries from falls. People fall for various reasons, but statistics have shown an increased number of falls as people age. Most of the adults over the age of 65 years that have been hospitalised for injuries got that injury by falling.
As people grow older, they tend to suffer from slowed reflexes and poor balance leading to increased falls risks. Falls are quite dangerous and clearly need to be avoided. Even if a fall does not cause any serious injury, it can lead to a lack of confidence. People who fall often tend to restrict their activities, and if you’re unlucky enough to have fallen once then, then the chances of you falling again are increased.
Why falls are dangerous
We’ve all stumbled in life or tripped up the stairs. These falls usually lead to small bruises, or maybe broken bones and pain. However, our bodies heal, and we forget about them quite fast. However, falls can be more concerning for adults leading to dreadful consequences.
Falls are the leading cause of injuries in adults with over 80% of the injured adults resulting from a fall. Statistics from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that in 2011 alone, 22, 900 adults died from unintentional injuries with over 80% of the cases resulting from falls.
Unlike the young people, falls in senior people result in severe injuries or even death with their more fragile bodies not being able to recover from the trauma. In most of the fall cases, the initial injury is not the cause of death but the associated or secondary problems.
While certain falls cannot be avoided, there are a few things you can do to reduce the risk. Understanding your fall risk will help keep you safer.
Best ways to prevent a fall
Understand your fall history
If you’ve experience past falls, then you’re at a higher risk of falling again. Knowing you’re at risk of falling helps you set strategies to prevent cases of falling. Recognise risk situations and take necessary steps to avoid them.
Exercise on a regular basis
Balance and leg strength are very crucial in avoiding falls. Try exercises that will improve your balance and strength your bones. Weight bearing exercises help improve coordination, cognition, posture, balance, joint flexibility and reaction time.
Weight bearing exercises don’t mean lifting the weight. It is any exercise that keeps you standing like walking. Go for walks in the evening to strengthen weak hips and legs that lead to falls.
Check your medications
Medications with various side effects such as lightheadedness, dizziness, and confusion increase your risk of fall. Talk with your doctor about your medications to know if they cause any of these side effects and take necessary steps to prevent falls after taking the medicines.
Test your vision
When was your last eye exam? If you have any troubles with your eyesight, then have them checked. People with blurry vision and weak eyesight are at higher risks of falling.
Reorganise your home environment
Reduce the clutter in your home or office to avoid stumbling. Add grab bars in areas where there are high risks of falling like in the bathroom or stairways.
Understanding the fall risks helps you stay away from them and avoid such falls. Falls can be fatal and should not be taken lightly. If you do fall, make sure you visit a doctor or physiotherapist and be examined even if there are no visible injuries. As we said earlier, death from falls is usually not caused by the fall but the associated problems.
If you’d like to be assessed for your falls risk and learn the steps you can take, call 9144-1510 now to schedule an appointment with one of our physiotherapists.