A fall can change your life. If you're elderly, it can lead to disability and a loss of independence. If your bones are fragile from osteoporosis, you could break a bone, often a hip. But aging alone doesn't make people fall. Diabetes and heart disease affect balance. So do problems with circulation, thyroid or nervous systems. Some medicines make people dizzy. Eye problems or alcohol can be factors. Any of these things can make a fall more likely. Babies and young children are also at risk of falling - off of furniture and down stairs, for example.
Falls and accidents seldom "just happen." Taking care of your health by exercising and getting regular eye exams and physicals may help reduce your chance of falling. Getting rid of tripping hazards in your home and wearing nonskid shoes may also help. To reduce the chances of breaking a bone if you do fall, make sure that you get enough calcium and vitamin D.
NIH: National Institute on Aging
- Falls and Fractures (National Institute on Aging) Also in Spanish
- Falls and Older Adults (National Institute on Aging)
- What Are Ways to Prevent Falls and Related Fractures? (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) Also in Spanish
- Depression Often a Precursor to Falls in Elderly People (05/26/2017, HealthDay)
- Sleeping Pills Boost Danger of Falls, Fractures in Older Users (05/02/2017, HealthDay)
Diagnosis and Tests
- Diagnosis and Tests: Evaluating a Fall or Risk of Falling (American Geriatrics Society)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Accidental Falls (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Balance Problems (American Geriatrics Society) - PDF
- Check for Safety: A Home Fall Prevention Checklist for Older Adults (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Fall Proofing Your Home (National Institute on Aging) - PDF
- Falls Prevention: Unique to Older Adults (AGS Foundation for Health in Aging)