Are you at risk for dizziness and balance related falls?

Are you at risk for dizziness and balance related falls?

An older adult falls every second of every day in America and every 19 minutes an older adult dies from a fall.  Almost equally concerning is that the cost of the average fall-related hospitalization is $30,000, with falls ranking 5th in terms of highest personal health care spending.

By the year 2030, one in five Americans will be at least 65 years of age, and without preventive efforts, the CDC estimates there may be 49 million falls and 12 million fall-related injuries annually.

One of the common misconceptions around falls is what is actually considered a fall.  It is important to know that a fall does not mean you have to hit the ground.  We consider falls to be putting a hand on the wall, avoiding stepping over an object, and/or losing your balance or hitting the wall or object.

With the alarming number of falls and fall-related deaths every day, combined with an aging population, why then are so few people getting assessed for balance, dizziness or fall risk?

There are three primary reasons why people don’t know the seriousness of falls or understand their risk of falling:

  • They don‘t know they have a balance problem and/or don’t know there is anything that can be done.
  • They know they have a balance problem but don’t know there is anything that can be done.
  • They know they have a balance problem and know there are ways to treat it but are afraid to tell anyone.

One of the key side effects of poor balance is dizziness, but the trouble with dizziness is that it is a non-specific term and is a common description for a variety of feelings and problems that can be difficult to pinpoint.

The most common causes of dizziness and falls are:

  • Inner Ear
    • Ear Crystals (BPPV)
    • Weakness/Damage to the inner ear/nerve
  • Circulation Problems
    • Postural Hypotension
    • Poor blood circulation
      • Diabetes
  • Other Causes
    • Neurological conditions
    • Medications
    • Anxiety
    • Low iron and blood sugar
    • Dehydration/Overheating

So, what strategies can you use to prevent falls and improve your balance?

  1. Get tested for balance annually or even every time you go to your medical doctor or physical therapist.
  2. Get your home assessed for fall risk: flooring, lighting, stairs etc.
  3. Wear proper shoes that are non-slip, comfortable and have flat or low heels.

If you are an older adult, whether or not you struggle with balance and dizziness, the chances that you are at risk for falling continue to rise as with age and it’s never too early to assess your risk of falling and prevent falls before they happen.  Get your free risk assessment of FYZICAL Therapy & Balance Centers of Woodbury today!