Do you experience difficulties with balance, walking or frequent falling? Be sure to discuss these issues with your doctor during your next visit.
It's pretty common to see a toddler take a tumble, get up and toddle on, no worse for wear. But as we get older, falls can be a serious health risk.
One out of every four older people fall each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Falls, and the injuries they cause can severely limit a person's independence. In fact, falls are the main cause of injury deaths among older adults.
You should consider the following in order to reduce these hazards and maintain your strength, balance, and vision:
• Don't go barefoot. Always wear shoes—not slippers—both inside and outside the house.
• Keep clutter to a minimum. Arrange furniture so that there's a clear walkway. Keep objects off the floor and electrical cords next to the wall so that you won't trip over them. Remove throw rugs or small area rugs.
• On the stairs, fix loose or uneven steps. Install sturdy handrails on both sides of the stairway, and keep it clutter-free. Make sure there's plenty of light at the top and bottom.
• In the bathroom, use a nonslip mat on the tub or shower floor. Install grab bars next to the tub and toilet. If you're prone to falling, use a shower chair.
• Exercise regularly to improve strength, coordination and balance.
• Use a cane or walker if you're unsteady. Have your vision checked at least once a year, and update your eyeglasses when needed.
• See your doctor if you're having trouble with balance or dizziness.
• Have your doctor review your prescription and over-the-counter medications. Side effects could include dizziness or sleepiness, which could contribute to falls.
• Get up slowly after sitting or lying down.
Watson Clinic's team of Family Medicine and Internal Medicine providers can help you remedy issues related to imbalance, dizziness or frequent falling. Call 863-680-7190 to schedule an appointment.