If you’re 65 or older you may be worrying about the wrong things where your health is concerned.
A new CDC study has pinpointed the leading cause of injuries — and death — in seniors. And believe it or not, that’s taking a fall.
That’s right, a simple stumble in the living room, the tub, or perhaps if you get up during the night to use the bathroom. Once you’re a certain age a fall can take away your independence, sometimes for good.
Along with the new CDC report, there was a big event from the National Council on Aging called Fall Prevention Awareness Day, which was September 22 (the first day of fall!).
All these campaigns are great, but they downplay or even fail to mention the number-one way to keep from falling.
And that’s something not even your doctor may want to talk about.
“Falls are not an inevitable part of aging.”
That’s what the CDC’s Dr. Grant Baldwin is telling doctors in a short video put out by the agency.
And while that’s certainly true, what seems to be an inevitable part of aging is getting so many prescriptions you need a speed pass at the pharmacy!
Only last month I told you about a study from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine that found around three quarters of 170,000 Medicare recipients who had a fracture were taking meds that up the chances of falling or can significantly weaken bones.
Although the CDC is now telling doctors to cut down on or even avoid prescribing drugs that can make seniors dizzy and unstable, this is hardly new information. Study after study has come out warning how certain drugs are almost a prescription to fall.
And yet doctors continue to hand them out like candy. It’s unbelievable.
For starters, these groups of drugs can affect your balance and make you dizzy:
- Antidepressants Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (sertraline),
- Sleeping pills such as Ambien, (zolpidem),
- Benzo drugs for anxiety, such as Xanax (alprazolam) and Klonopin (clonazepam), and
- OTC meds including Tylenol PM and Benadryl.
But that’s just the beginning.
Over the years I’ve been warning you how blood-pressure meds are in a special class of their own where falls are concerned. They can easily cause dizziness, especially when you stand up quickly or get out of bed in the morning.
A study from Yale’s chief of geriatrics published in JAMA two years ago found that seniors taking blood pressure meds had a whopping 40 percent higher risk of suffering a serious fall-related injury, such as a broken hip or head trauma.
And if you also happen to be taking one of those proton pump inhibitors, like Prilosec or Nexium, then any fall you take can land you in the ER.
That’s because these drugs are known to up your risk of snapping a bone by a whopping 34 percent!
With fractures being the top reason seniors land in a nursing home, it’s vital to do anything and everything possible to keep your bones strong and not have to test them! The list of drugs that can lead to a fall is long, and I’ll give you a link to one below.
But along with ditching unnecessary and risky meds, here are three important tips that will help keep you strong and steady.
Tip #1: Include a vitamin D supplement in your daily routine for stronger bones. Even the CDC recommends that!
Tip #2: Start taking yoga or Tai Chi. Both practices will significantly improve your balance.
Tip #3: Be careful when wearing new glasses that are stronger, or even progressive lenses if you’re not used to them, especially when going down stairs or curbs.
For a full list of meds that can increase your risk of a fall, look here.
“Deaths from falls rising among seniors: CDC,” David Alliot, September 27, 2016, Newsmax, newsmax.com