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Healthy Aging Awareness Month: Fall Prevention

Falls can be dangerous at any age. Babies and young children can get hurt falling off furniture or down the stairs. Older children may fall off playground equipment. For older adults, falls can be especially serious. They are at higher risk of falling. They are also more likely to fracture (break) a bone when they fall, especially if they have osteoporosis. A broken bone, especially when it is in a hip, may even lead to disability and a loss of independence for older adults.

Some common causes of falls include:

• Balance problems

• Some medicines, which can make you feel dizzy, confused, or slow

• Vision problems

• Alcohol, which can affect your balance and reflexes

• Muscle weakness, especially in your legs, which can make it harder for you to get up from a chair or keep your balance when walking on an uneven surface.

• Certain illnesses, such as low blood pressurediabetes, and neuropathy

• Slow reflexes, which make it hard to keep your balance or move out of the way of a hazard

• Tripping or slipping due to loss of footing or traction

At any age, people can make changes to lower their risk of falling. It important to take care of your health, including getting regular eye exams. Regular exercise may lower your risk of falls by strengthening your muscles, improving your balance, and keeping your bones strong. And you can look for ways to make your house safer. For example, you can get rid of tripping hazards and make sure that you have rails on the stairs and in the bath. To reduce the chances of breaking a bone if you do fall, make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D.

Source NIH: National Institute on Aging