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Articles in Category: Falls

Osteoporosis and Care Management

Osteoporosis and Care Management

Osteoporosis is a disease that thins and weakens the bones to where they become fragile and easily broken. Osteoporosis is often called a "silent" disease because bone loss occurs without symptoms. Bones slowly and subtly lose density, becoming weaker over time. More than 50 million Americans either already have osteoporosis or are at high risk due to low bone mass. Although osteoporosis may be diagnosed at any age, it is mostly a disease of aging and predominantly affects older women. Osteoporosis generally isn’t discovered until there is a sudden fall or strain that leads to a broken bone or stress fracture. 

Many things can affect the risk of falling, such as a patient’s balance, weakened eyesight, uneven flooring, stairs, furniture arrangement, and home accessibility. A broken bone resulting from a fall can limit mobility and have a major impact on a patient’s quality of life. Patients may feel an emotional as well as physical weight following a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Thus, they may experience bouts of depression, anxiety, or weariness caused by effects of the disease. Those most affected by the disease may be afraid to leave their homes or participate in previously enjoyed daily activities fearing injury.

Falls and Fractures in Older Adults

Falls and Fractures in Older Adults

Falls are serious at any age and falling once doubles your chances of falling again. As one out of five falls does cause a serious injury which can limit mobility, reduce daily activities and make independence more difficult. Breaking a bone such as a wrist, arm, ankle or hip, after a fall becomes more likely as a person ages. Breaks and fractures from falls can cause serious complications, and even affect mood and management of other conditions. Each year, millions of older adults—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, one out of three older adults falls each year, and at least 250,000 are hospitalized for hip fractures.

Some older adults may have health conditions that make for difficult walking (e.g. limb amputation, foot or leg pain), have prescribed medications such as tranquilizers, sedatives, or antidepressants or be taking some over-the-counter medicines that are disorienting. Loss of coordination or balance weakened eyesight or osteoporosis and weaker bones can all be risks for falling. Living in a cluttered home with floor and other hazards (e.g. unsecured rugs, the absence of handrails, or slippery floors) can also boost the risk for falling and resulting injury.

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