Thursday, May 22, 2008


6 tips to fight fractures, slips, and falls

Tip 1:
Exercise to improve balance and strength. Exercising reduces your risks of falls. Keeping physically active helps your reflexes stay sharp, and your muscles stay strong. That can help with coordination and lower your risk of falling. If you are fit, your balance is better, and that makes you much less likely to take a fall than someone who has become bedridden and infirm. Exercise also has a direct impact on the strength of your bones. High impact exercises, e.g. jogging, tennis, may not be safe for some people with osteoporosis, since the physical pounding could cause a fracture.

Tip 2:
Tread carefully. Wearing the wrong sort of footwear can really increase your risk of a fall. Just look for low heeled shoes that offer good support and have rubber soles rather than leather ones. While sneakers are fine, avoid ones with deep treads that can trip you up. It’s time to wear shoes inside the house too; socks and slippers can increase your risk of falling. Use any assistive device recommended by your doctor or therapist. When you are walking outside, play it safe. Walk on the grass when it’s been raining, since you are more likely to slip on concrete.

Tip 3:
Know how medicines might affect you. Unfortunately, as you grow older, you’re more likely to need daily medications. All medications have side-effects, some of which can increase your risk of falling. Medications that can cause dizziness and lack of coordination include sedatives, sleeping pills, drugs that lower blood pressure, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants, muscle relaxants, those for heart conditions. Studies have shown that taking 4 or more medications has a higher risk of falling.

Tip 4:
Lighten up. Your vision isn’t as good as before. This makes it harder to discern objects especially in low light. Brighten up your home and consider fluorescent bulbs. Install overhead lights in all rooms so that you don’t have to stumble around in the dark to find the lamp. Use night lights in your bedroom, bathroom, and any hallways that connect them. Make sure all stairways both inside and outside are well lit. Keep a flashlight in your bed.

Tip 5:
‘Fall-Proof’ your home. Keep rooms free of clutter. Put down carpet or plastic runners on polished floors. Get throw rugs, electric cords and phone lines off the floor. Have hand-rails on all stairs. Install railings in the bathroom around the toilet and shower. Put a rubber mat on the floor of your bath or shower. Many people just don’t do a very good job fall-proofing their homes.

Tip 6:
Treat health conditions. Some chronic illnesses can affect your strength or physical functioning and increase the risk of a fall. Arthritis can make it hard to move around. Vision problems can increase your risk of tripping. Check with your doctor as to which of your health conditions may increase your risk of falling, and on whether any treatment might help.

(This article was first published in Berita Menopos, and reproduced here with permission from the Malaysian Menopause Society. For more information about MMS, please visit the website at )

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