It’s the best way to avoid injuries and protect your bones.
March 17, 2020
Your bones become more fragile as you age. This increases the likelihood of a break, especially if you have osteoporosis (bone loss). But many people don’t know they have osteoporosis because it has no symptoms.
Falls are the leading cause of broken bones and injury deaths in older adults. Preventing falls before they happen is one of the best ways to avoid injuries and protect fragile bones.
Create a fall prevention game plan
1. Make an appointment with your doctor and bring a list of your prescriptions. Together, you can review any side effects, such as dizziness, that could cause a fall. Tell your doctor about any previous falls, no matter how minor, and if you’ve had changes in vision or how you walk.
2. Get moving. Wear low-heeled shoes that fit properly when exercising or walking. Do exercises that build strength, flexibility, coordination and balance. Make sure the ankle, knee, hip and trunk are aligned. This can improve posture and safe movement.
3. Change your living space. Making small adjustments to your home can keep falls from happening:
- Add lamps in dim areas and/or keep a flashlight handy.
- Put a non-slip rubber mat in your bathtub or shower.
- Remove small rugs from areas that get a lot of traffic.
- Put frequently used items within reach.
- Keep walking areas free of clutter.
If you do fall and are at risk for osteoporosis, it’s important to tell your doctor right away. This is especially true if you have any pain or swelling.
Are you at risk for osteoporosis?
There are risk factors you can control and others you cannot. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has a checklist that can help you determine your risk.
Risk factors you can’t influence include:
- Being female, especially white or Asian
- A family history of osteoporosis
- A history of broken bones
Risk factors you can influence include:
- Getting enough calcium and Vitamin D
- Getting enough physical activity
- Not smoking
- Staying at a healthy weight
Bone density tests
Medicare Part B covers a bone density test once every two years for people with Part B who are at risk for osteoporosis. This test measures how strong your bones are. The lower your bone density, the higher your chances of breaking a bone.
By Kelly Brammer, RN, Supervisor, Care Advantage Program
The information provided is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be medical advice or a substitute for professional health care. You should consult an appropriate health care professional for your specific needs.