COVID-19 Updates: Keeping You Safe + Elective Surgeries + Donating Plasma
- Middlesex Health is open and providing patient care, in person and through Virtual Visits. We have also resumed performing elective procedures.
According to Middlesex Hospital physical therapist Susan Dunn, falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. One in four Americans age 65 or older fall every year, and your risk of falling increases as you age.
Dunn says you have a greater risk of falling if you can answer yes to any of the following questions.
The relationship between balance and falls
Balance issues can lead to falls and are influenced by vision and input from your inner ear, along with sensory input from your feet and the joints of your lower extremities.
It is important to address balance issues and try to prevent falls. Bone quantity and quality decreases as we age, and falls can result in broken bones, especially for someone who has osteopenia or osteoporosis. Hitting your head could result in traumatic brain injury or a spinal injury.
Signs that you are having balance issues include being unsteady when you walk. You may notice a slower walking speed, need to reach for furniture or walls to steady yourself, or you may trip or stumble. You may avoid activities that you've done in the past because you fear falling.
Any visual impairment problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration, can impact your balance. People with hearing loss, a history of vertigo and other vestibular problems can also experience poor balance.
Are you diabetic or getting cancer treatment? Decreased sensation in your feet from diabetic neuropathy or chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy can also influence your balance.
Dunn notes that if one system is not working up to par, other systems can be trained to compensate. That's where a physical therapist can help! They’ll evaluate your strength, flexibility and mobility to create a personalized training program.
How can you reduce your fall risk?
If you are experiencing balance issues, contact your primary care physician to discuss your concerns. Ultimately, they may refer you to a physical therapist.
For more information about Middlesex Hospital’s physical therapy services, visit www.middlesexhealth.org.
Middlesex Health is, once again, performing elective surgeries. This step has been taken because Middlesex believes it is safe to perform procedures that were halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are worried about COVID-19 and its impact on your life, you are not alone. Dr. Patrice Holmes, a Middlesex Health psychiatrist, discusses signs of anxiety, some ways to curb anxiety and when it might be time to seek help.