If you are over the age of 65 a dangerous fall could be in your future according to federal health regulators.
None of us likes to think we’re getting older but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that among Americans age 65 and older, one in three will experience a fall every year with results than can range from minor to fatal. Even a minor fall can lead to head trauma that is not initially recognized.
According to the CDC there were 2.3 million Americans who experienced falls in 2010 and were treated in emergency rooms. Among those more than 662,000 were hospitalized with injuries that included hip fractures, lacerations and head trauma. Hitting your head can easily cause anything from traumatic brain injury (TBI) to a concussion and can be experienced by people of all ages, but falls are the most common cause according to the CDC.
Falls are the cause of hip fractures about 95% of the time says the federal agency.
Falls are preventable if some precautions are taken.
- Americans of all ages commonly trip from pets, loose rugs or objects on the floors or furniture that is in the way. The CDC recommends your walking space be adequate and the floors have a lot of traction.
- A grip bar in the bathroom is recommended especially around the tub, shower and next to the toilet.
- Keep areas well lit.
- Have eyes examined and update glasses prescriptions as needed.
- The CDC suggests regular exercise will increase leg strength making a fall less likely and recovery easier.
- Any dizzy spells should be taken seriously. A consult with a physician can help determine if a medical condition is causing dizziness or a medication may be the cause.
The CDC campaign called, “Heads Up to Brain Injury” was created to recognize March as Brain Injury Awareness Month.
TBI causes at least 1.7 million injuries every year and can be described as a head injury that alters the normal functioning of the brain. Even a mild bump can cause TBI. The majority of TBI are concussions.
The CDC reports there are about 3.5 million Americans with TBI which has proven fatal to 53,000.
Wearing a seat belt, avoiding drunk and distracted driving and wearing a helmet are some suggested ways to protect your head from blows.