Falls can happen anytime and any place to people of any age, but most falls by people 50 years of age and older have higher chances of fracturing their bone. The number of falls and the severity of injury resulting from falls increases as people get older. The most common serious injuries are head injuries, wrist fractures, spine fractures, and hip fractures.
What to do if you fall
- Don’t panic. Assess the situation and determine if you are hurt.
- Slide or crawl along the floor to the nearest couch or chair and try to get up.
- If you can’t get up, call for help.
- If you are alone, crawl slowly to the telephone and call 995
Personal Risk Factors
Personal risk factors account for approximately 75% of the risk of falls and are related to acquired disabilities, age-related changes and current diseases.
- Age. The rate of hip fractures increases after age 50, doubling every five to six years.
- Activity. Lack of weight-bearing exercise leads to decreased bone strength.
- Gender. Reduced levels of estrogen after female menopause can result in osteoporosis. Women have two to three times as many hip fractures as men and a 20% chance of a hip fracture during their lifetime.
- Habits. Smoking and/or excessive alcohol intake decreases bone strength.
- Heredity. Caucasians and Asians with small, slender body structures are at risk; so are people who have a family history of fractures later in life.
- Nutrition. Low calcium dietary intake, reduced calcium absorption and inadequate vitamin D are factors in osteoporosis.
- Get an annual physical and eye examination, particularly an evaluation of cardiac and blood pressure problems.
- Maintain a diet with adequate dietary calcium and vitamin D.
- Participate in an exercise program for agility, strength, balance, and coordination.
- Keep an up-to-date list of all medications and provide it to all doctors with whom you consult.
- Know the side effects of your medications.
- Make sure all medications are clearly labeled and stored in a well-lit area according to instructions.
- Take medications on schedule with a full glass of water, unless otherwise instructed.