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RISKS OF FALLS

09/28/10

Permalink 05:18:59 pm, by eleanor Email , 579 words   English (US) latin1
Categories: my life, Thoughts, Adapting Activities, information

RISKS OF FALLS

For people with multiple sclerosis the risk of Falls is real.  Loss of balance, strength, spasticity,dizziness, visual problems, sensory losses, numbness and pain can all be contributing factors.  We who have Multiple Sclerosis know the feeling the above symptoms can contribute to unsteadiness in walking or just getting up from a chair. And most of us have had several falls from moving too fast or loss of sensation or vision disturbance etc. Luckily most of us have not had a fracture from our fall .

But with age and or increasing disability the chances of a fracture with that fall can increase. And one of the intrinsic factors that can increase the likelihood of a fracture is osteoporosis.  In fact in a recent Narcoms Study disabled older participants with MS between the ages of 55 and 72 were seven times more likely to have osteoporosis then a participant in the study that was 44 years old or younger.  Additionally 60% of the participants in the study reported they had broken a bone after age 13 . This included:

wrist fractures 522

Spine fractures 165

Hip fractures 100

More than one fracture 685

For more information on this article which was on the website of the United Spinal organization.  To read more go to:  http://www.unitedspinal.org/msscene/

These numbers should make us all hesitates and think about what we're doing to prevent falls and osteoporosis.  Obviously exercise to try to increase strength, balance and flexibility should be in all our lives.  And we should be taking the appropriate medication for symptoms that we have that increase our risk for a fall.

We should also be taking our calcium and vitamin D supplements as well as dairy products like milk, vegetables like broccoli, protein like sardines or salmon and other sources to increase our calcium and vitamin daily.  And of course getting outside every day.  They say all you need is 15 minutes of sun for an appropriate dose of vitamin D.

And one must not forget that a bone density test and a vitamin D test are also appropriate and necessary to recognize an early deficiency in vitamin D and osteopenia  the forerunner of increased risk of  osteoporosis .

Finally, we must not forget the environment that we live in.  Is it safe for us?  Are we living in a home where there is an increased risk for a fall ?  We can immediately think of railings on stairs or ramps. Also grab bars in the bathroom and good lighting ,raised seats etc..

But there also many  areas we tend not to think of.  And there are so many little things that because of our fragile mobility that could cause a fall. And a fall could be serious!  From my experience as a physical therapist fractures can set people back functionally permanently especially if they have impaired mobility to start with.  And you certainly don't want to let that happen to you.

I have been very impressed with the AdaptMy.com Assessment Survey.  They have seven templates for assessments. They cover the basic rooms in your home plus the entryway and the overall house assessment.  They are based on Universal Design Principles and are applicable for older people in their homes as well as those of us with medical conditions causing disabilities.  People with more severe disabilities can benefit from these as a place to start.  Information and the Templates in PDR or Word format can be found at: http://www.adaptmy.com/article/home-assessments/#clear

Take care of yourself ....                                          ellie

 

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