What Are Fall Risk Factors?
Fall risk factors increase an older person’s chance of falling. Fall prevention aims to eliminate as many of these risk factors as possible. Fall prevention reduces your chance of hospital admission and makes you less likely to have severe injuries from falling.
Hazards in and around the home can greatly increase the risk of falling. Common home hazards include:
- Loose carpets and rugs
- Untidy house
Read more about home fall hazards here.
Medical Conditions Related to a Higher Risk of Falling
Certain medical conditions can cause symptoms such as dizziness, and decreased mobility which can increase your risk of falling.
Conditions that can increase your risk of falling include:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Blood disorders
- Thyroid problems
- Muscle weakening disorders
- Sensory disorders
Conditions such as Arthritis and Parkinson’s disease reduce your mobility or can make moving painful. This can make you more likely to trip and make it harder to react quickly and grab something to prevent yourself from falling.
Sensory disorders such as vision and hearing problems can alter your depth perception and affect your balance.
Diabetes and blood disorders can cause nerve damage which can affect the feeling and sensation in your ankles and feet, this can make it harder to walk. Also, drops in blood glucose levels can cause dizziness.
Dizziness and lightheadedness can severely affect your balance. If you begin to feel dizzy you should sit or lie down until the feeling passes and drink plenty of water. Dizziness can sometimes lead to fainting.
Common causes of dizziness are:
- Drop-in blood pressure
- Irregular heartbeat
- Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
As we get older our muscles naturally get weaker. Weak muscles can affect balance, mobility and put more pressure on our joints. However, there are numerous reasons why our muscles can become weaker.
Reasons why our muscles get weaker include:
- Decreased physical activity
- Conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis
Poor balance is a very common risk factor of falling, there are many things that can cause poor balance including:
- Weak muscles
- Previous injuries
- Conditions such as stroke, Parkinson’s and low blood pressure
- Ear infections
Foot and Ankle Problems
Foot problems can affect your mobility, balance and make it difficult to exercise often.
Foot and ankle problems include:
- Arthritis in the foot and ankle
- Ingrown toenails
- Corns and Calluses
- Foot drop
Medications can cause side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, blurred vision and reduce alertness. Medications that can have these side effects include; blood pressure-lowering medications, sedatives and sleeping tablets, anticonvulsants, antihypertensives and anti-anxiety drugs.