Latina Health Project

About Osteoporosis

Stay Safe - Prevent Falls to Prevent Broken Bones

If you have fallen, whether or not you broke a bone, ask for a full evaluation.  A X-ray may reveal breaks you didn’t know about.  Other medical tests that can help you prevent falls: vision, balance, muscle strength, heart function, and blood pressure.  Annual vision checks can help prevent falls.

A regular exercise program can reduce the frequency of falls. Exercise can increase muscle strength in the legs and ankles and can help you feel more at home in your own body and maintain balance. Stretching is very beneficial.

You sometimes see old people doing Tai Chi, which is not strenuous but can help with balance.  Other exercise programs including dancing and calisthenics help with balance and strength in small muscles.

Poor vision can greatly affect your odds of tripping and falling.  Get glasses if you need them or keep your prescription up to date and use your glasses.  Schedule a visit to the ophthalmologist or optometrist if needed.  Make sure the lighting in your house is good and consider using night lights.  Pay close attention to lighting near staircases and steps.

Many medicines can affect the sense of balance, and sometimes combinations of medicines can make it worse.  It may not be feasible to change the medications but a change is worth looking into.

Your environment:  Make your home low risk for falls.  This can involve making sure there are no tripping hazards at home and other places you frequent.  Fix broken steps and install ramps if feasible. Put in railings where appropriate.  The hand bars you see in handicap toilets – consider getting them put in your own bathroom.  You might think they are creepy or inappropriate for you, but they can come in handy and you won’t know you need them until they need them.  Further,
grab bars can increase the value of your home.

Anti-slip mats in the bathtub are an easy safety upgrade.  Consider removing rugs that have lips, as small rugs often do.  Hide electrical cords behind furniture or under carpets or tape them down.  Also consider wearing shoes that support your arches and perhaps have non-slip soles.  Also, don’t climb on ladders or stools or stand on chairs.

Caretakers

People who take care of the elderly have are typically aware of the dangers of falls and the susceptibility that old people have. A study at Duke University found poor compliance by nursing home staff in taking training to reduce falls in their facilities.

News: Winter falls, bone fractures may point to osteoporosis