As a Seattle podiatrist I see many patients in my office who are at risk for falls. I serve a lot of seniors with foot problems who often take medications that can make them dizzy, have problems with vision, or other problems that place them at risk for falling.
Particularly problematic are those patients who have a combination of osteoporosis and a risk for falling. Osteoporosis or severe bone loss means that bones are very fragile. Patients at risk for falling and have osteoporosis are much more likely to fracture a hip and end up in a nursing home. Women ages 65-69 are 5 times more likely to die within a year if they break a hip than those that don't.
Here are some tips for avoiding the deadly combination of osteoporosis and falls:
Women are at greater risk than men for developing osteoporosis. Bones begin to thin as we people age but for women this thinning process accelerates during menopause due to lack of estrogen. Thin women, women who are Caucasian and Asian, or are predisposed due to heredity also place women at higher risk for this condition. To prevent osteoporosis women over 50 need to:
Have a bone mineral density test to determine if your bones are thinning.
Weight bearing exercises - exercises such as walking, climbing stairs, running, or dancing will help build bone. Weight lifting adds even more weight to your body. You can start with 5 pound free weights and build up from there. Make sure you talk to your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Supplementing with vitamin D and calcium - getting enough vitamin D and calcium are essential for preventing osteoporosis. You'll need to use supplements to get enough vitamin D, particularly in an area like Seattle where there is little sun. A healthy diet containing lots of leafy greens, fish with bones, milk, and other foods are probably enough to provide the calcium you need.
Preventing falls is the other side of preventing deadly fractures in older adults. For more information, read about our program" In Balance Fall Prevention Program".
Call us today at 206-368-7000 for an appointment. Often same day for emergencies and less than 2 weeks for chronic foot pain. You can also request an appointment online.
Get our free foot book "No More Foot Pain", mailed directly to your home.
Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.