Thursday, 30 June 2016

Preventing Falling For Neuropathy Patients

Today's post from (see link below) looks at the risk of falling for people in general (especially older people) but also people with nerve damage. It gives some useful explanations as to why this can happen and how to avoid it. Unfortunately, if you have long-term neuropathy, you may have noticed how much more frequently you're stumbling and maybe even falling. It's not surprising, given the confusing signals your feet are receiving from your damaged nerves but there is a serious risk of injury and it's best to be aware of the problem. Many people who feel their balance is fragile, try to grip the ground with their feet and consequently tense up even more when walking, leading to a greater risk of falling. We have to find strategies to avoid this and this article helps with a few tips.

Defying Gravity? Fall Prevention
Posted by Kathleen Hoffman on Jan 22, 2016

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. ~Confucius

An elephant and a feather would fall from a tall building and land at exactly the same time (in the absence of air resistance). Getting your head around it is hard but it’s just the nature of gravity.

Everyone is affected by gravity. From the time we’re up on our feet as toddlers, we risk stumbling and tumbling. Skinned knees and scraped elbows are a normal part of growing up.

Yet sometimes falls are severe. Every year, over 2 million visits to the emergency department are due to falls.

Although researchers focus on falls that happen to people age 65 and over, according to one insurance company, most falls are not related to age. Certain physical conditions are commonly related to falling.

For example, a recent study comparing adults with and without arthritis found that those with arthritis were twice as likely to experience 2 or more falls. Not getting enough Vitamin D, foot pain and neuropathy, medication side effects like dizziness, weakness in the lower half of the body have all been associated with increased risk of falling. Changes in vision that interfere with balance increase the likelihood of falls.
Another factor associated with falling are the side effects of medications, like dizziness.
Fall Prevention at Home

Certain areas of the house are associated with more frequent falls than others. Here are some ideas to reduce your risk of falling.
What’s The Most Dangerous Room in Your House?

Most people say the kitchen. But according to the CDC, your bathroom is the

most hazardous  

room in the house. Around 235,000 injuries occur in bathrooms every year. Eighty one percent of these injuries are falls. For the young and old alike, getting in and out of the bathtub or shower is treacherous. Adding handrails in the bathroom, in the tub, and by the toilet can help reduce falls.
Step Lively on Stairs

As people walk up and down steps, their nervous systems create a set of expectations about the height of the steps. A difference in height between steps is one of the main reason for falls. Warnings and visual cues that something is amiss in the height of steps is a failsafe but assuring that all steps are the same height can reduce injuries.

Uneven tread, or even broken steps are hazardous. Installing handrails on all stairwells is recommended.
Reduce the Clutter

There are neatniks and then, there are the rest of us. Clutter is a way of life for many. But clutter on the floor, including electric cords and accent or throw rugs are unsafe and increase the risk of falling.
Throw Some Light On the Subject

Okay, here’s where aging research comes in and tells the story. Aging eyes take longer to adjust to changes in the level of light. In addition, physical changes in the eye reduce the amount of light that enters the eye and actually scatters light in the eye. The scattering means that older eyes see more glare and with more glare less detail can be seen. Finally, yellowing lenses, another age effect, makes distinguishing colors more difficult.

So, changes in lighting are essential to safety. Eliminate light fixtures that flicker so that the general lighting of the room is uniform across it. If light can be made uniform between rooms, this can also improve sight and safety. Replace light bulbs so that the house is brighter and use glare free lighting.
Fear of Falling Can Increase the Risk of Falls

Since 20% of falls result in serious injuries, it’s not surprising that after one fall, people become fearful of another. Moreover, that fear can become a reason to be less active. That’s where the paradox lies because being less active weakens muscles in the abdomen, hips and legs, increasing the likelihood of falling. Moving and staying physically fit is key to preventing falls.

Each year, over 700,000 people are hospitalized because of injuries that occur from falling. By taking a few precautions, you can reduce your risk for becoming one of them. Institute fall prevention strategies and Stay safe.

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