Fall Prevention: A Life-Saving Pursuit

According to The American Trauma Society, falling is the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for older adults in the USA. Since seniors have a tendency to get off-balance, and their bones are more brittle, it is easy to understand how a minor fall can turn into a serious injury.

Every year American emergency rooms treat over 2.5 million injuries caused by falls. Almost ¾ of a million of those people end up in the hospital to recover; and 22,000 of those fall victims end up dying as a direct result of their injury from falling.

Stony Brook University’s Dr. James Vosswinkel says seniors that fall should always go to be checked out after, even if they feel they were not injured by the fall.

“Older adults who suffer a serious fall have much better chances of survival and overall better health outcomes if they are treated at a trauma center where specialized surgeons are available,” Vosswinkel said.

Falls can be prevented, which is the best approach to this serious problem. Dr. Vosswinkel suggests a few ways older adults can avoid falling.

  1. Discuss the issue with a physician and get advice from him/her on how to avoid falls.
  2. Incorporate exercises that improve strength and balance into your lifestyle.
  3. Check with your doctor to see if any medicines you are taking might increase your risk of falling, or the chance of a fall leading to a serious injury.
  4. Be sure to check your eyesight regularly. Seeing what’s in front of you could help you avoid tripping.
  5. Make your home as fall-proof as possible. Décor should be minimalist, if possible, to reduce the chance of crashing into furniture that cramps space and could make your home more dangerous.

Diet can help with this problem as well. Sodium (salt) deficiency, known as hyponatremia, has been linked with a higher number of instances of falls and fractures. One study showed that even a slight reduction in the amount of sodium in the blood resulted in a 21 percent increase in the death rate during the follow-up period.