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Falls and Balance – Part 2

6 days to go

The risk of falling increases as we age.  Addressing risks is helped if we characterise risk factors into categories:

  1. Health condition related risks:
  • Neuromuscular conditions such as Parkinson’s Disease, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis
  • Conditions causing visual impairment e.g. cataract, macular degeneration
  • Inner ear conditions e.g. Meniere’s disease
  • Heart conditions e.g. abnormal heart rhythms
  • Mental health conditions
  • Medication
  1. Age-related risks: changes which affect many of the inputs/feedback we receive from our interaction with our environment.
  • visual acuity
  • coordination
  • muscle activity, strength and power
  • flexibility
  • speed of reaction
  • wear and tear on our joints which can affect our postural alignment and our walking gait.

Being aware of these risk factors allows us to take steps to address them.

In 41 days to go we talked about vision and the importance of regular eye tests which can screen for early diagnosis of any eye conditions and also provide correction for age related changes.

In 25 days to go we discussed deafness. If you are noticing problems with your balance and you also notice a hearing deficit then it’s worth getting this checked out sooner rather than later. Similarly, if you’re taking medication and you develop any unsteadiness do mention it to your pharmacist or GP for their advice.

On that note, a friend recently contacted me as they were finding themselves regularly dizzy, feeling unwell and not sure what was going on. To keep the story short – they had been taking medication for high blood pressure for some while. However, they had embarked on a successful weight loss program losing a number of stone.  As a result of this achievement, they no longer had high blood pressure and it was the medication that was causing the dizziness. The medication was stopped and the symptoms went away.

More in part 3.








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