Worrying about falling?
Unsteady on your feet and you know you haven’t been drinking, or on a carnival ride?
I’ll let you in on a secret.
OK, maybe it’s not a secret.
Falling is not a normal part of aging.
If you are experiencing dizziness or unsteadiness while walking, it could be a medical condition. Or it could be your medicines. Or, you could even be dehydrated.
Full disclosure – this article originally started off as part of our MedBytes feature. But if you didn’t notice, I just mentioned drinking and carnival rides in the same sentence, so this topic seems to have gone wayyyy beyond medicine.
MedBytes is our bite-sized medicine tips that you may not have known, on random topics. Comment below if you have a topic you would like to see covered. We will take a look and consider it. ~
Ways to reduce your risk of falls (besides backing away from the alcohol and the spinny-rides):
- Tape down or (better yet) eliminate throw rugs.
- Remove cords from draping across the floor. Have someone install a new outlet close to where you need it so the cord isn’t draped all across the floor.
- Have something stable to grab onto should you lose your balance. A grab bar, cane, walker, or even furniture along the way.
- Make sure you have good lighting. The newer LED bulbs come in various “brightnesses” (aka lumens) with the same amount of wattage.
- Exercise regularly. BOTH cardio (get your heart rate up) and weight-bearing. The Proverbs 31 lady strengthens her arms – let’s match her challenge and also strengthen our legs, too!
She girds herself with strengthProverbs 31:17
And makes her arms strong.
- Ask your doctor if you should be taking any Vitamin D, which, along with your calcium supplement, helps strengthen your bones. Many Americans have low levels without knowing it. Don’t diagnose or dose yourself.
- Ask your pharmacist or doctor to look over your medicine list and see if any of your medicines cause dizziness or would contribute to fall risk. Sometimes doctors will have people take those medicines that may cause dizziness at night just before bed, so you won’t be up walking around when the effects kick in.
- You also may be able to switch to a different medicine to try to eliminate these side effects.
- Some insurance plans have pharmacists call patients to discuss their medicine. Take full advantage of this.
Ask them to go over your medicine list. Make sure you tell them if you’re taking any other medicines that aren’t on the file, like over-the-counter items. Have them check for any duplications or ones that could be causing dizziness.
Write the information down so you can discuss changes with your doctor. Or, if they plan on contacting your doctor, they may be able to work with him or her to make needed changes for you.
This is what the pharmacist’s job is who calls you about your medicine.
- When lying down, get up to a seated position and then to a standing position slowly. Let your brain get adjusted to your new position.
- Drink plenty of water, as long as you don’t have a medical condition that restricts extra water consumption.
- Have your doctor check you for any inner ear issues. You could have fluid in there causing dizziness.
- Have your doctor check you for other medical issues if none of the above helps.
What have you done to successfully eliminate fall risks? Share with us in the comments.