Saturday, October 16, 2010

Balance and Falls

Falls are extremely common among the elderly population.  “One in three seniors over the age of 65, and nearly one in two seniors over the age of 80 will fall at least once this year.”1  These falls can be dangerous, lead to loss of independence and often have devastating consequences.  With our aging population in America it is more important than ever to address the risk factors that lead to these falls and concentrate on prevention techniques.

Risk factors associated with falls include poor balance, older age, weakness, and diminished vision.  Other medical conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and Parkinson disease lead to loss of balance and increase the possibility of a fall.  It should be noted that anyone on more than four medications may also have decreased balance due to dizziness or other side effects.

Maintaining a relatively high but safe level of physical activity can help prevent falls.  It is important that a physical therapist or other qualified healthcare professional help formulate a safe exercise program.  Your physical therapist will be able to:

·         Obtain your detailed medical history
·         Complete an individualized physical examination of any present risk factors. 
·         Address your strength, gait mechanics (how you walk), and your flexibly. 
·         Recommend, based on your condition, other treatment options such as aquatics classes, Tai Chi (which helps with weight shifting, coordination and posture), or other balance or walking classes.

Hayashida and Associates offers multiple qualified professionals who can help you or your loved ones prevent unnecessary falls. 


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