September is Fall Prevention Month
More than 25% of people aged 65 years and older will fall each year. Falls are the most common cause of both traumatic brain injury and fractures in older adults and are the leading cause of unintentional death for this population. In older adults, accidental falls are associated with low physical functioning, reduced postural and gait stability, slow righting and equilibrium responses and orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure).
A fall can be defined as an event that results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. People often deny falling.
The common causes of falls are vision and hearing changes, dizziness, lower-extremity muscle weakness, loss of flexibility, pain, functional deficits in proprioception (sensory changes), balance, and walking. Comorbidities such as vestibular disorders, stroke, head injury, peripheral neuropathy, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis or dementia can lead to falls. Musculoskeletal disorders such as low back and neck pain and Cardiovascular conditions can lead to a fall.
Physical therapists play a vital role in all stages of fall prevention management by addressing strength, flexibility, endurance, balance and ambulation concerns. As part of a health team, Physical therapists address negative effects of polypharmacy, incontinence and urgency (bowel and bladder), frailty, and the safety in home and community environments.
The key is prevention. Are you concerned about falling or someone you know who has fallen? Call today for a Discovery Visit with Dr. Ann H. Newstead, PT, DPT, PhD at 210-833-8336