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Robert Creighton
556 followers -
Determined. Disciplined. Indefatigable
Determined. Disciplined. Indefatigable

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A life changing event?

Experiencing a fall can be a life-changing event that you may not ever really recover from. Many of you may be in your older years, have a family member with some anxiety over the fear of falling, or know someone who has actually experienced a fall.  

Do not be afraid, take action.  You can maintain an independent lifestyle as you age and avoid falling if you maintain healthy, functional feet and legs. No matter what your age, there are things you can be doing right now to not only prevent a fall, but also, as a result of these simple steps, improve your overall health. 

Podiatrists know this for a fact.  Podiatrists regularly witness the devastating effects of falls, but they also witness the truly amazing vitality of people who maintain the balance, strength and function of their feet and legs. 

What do fall statistics have to say about your risk of falling?  

- About one third of the population over the age of 65 has a fall each year, and the risk of falling increases with age. 

- More than one-half of people who are 80 years of age fall annually.
 
Sure, these statistics will get your attention, but get this, it is believed that these statistics are conservative because  many people who fall do not tell anybody and family members or caregivers never find out.

- A person who has fallen two to three times is more likely to fall again.

- About half (53%) of older adults who are discharged for fall-related hip fractures will experience another fall within six months.

- Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly and 87% of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls.

- Falls account for 25% of all hospital admissions, and 40% of all nursing home admissions with  40% of those admitted not returning to independent living; 25% die within a year.

 - Up to 40% of people who have a stroke have a serious fall within the next year.

- 20% to 30% of seniors fear falling.

- 90% percent of falls that do not result in injury can still have a detrimental impact on health and well-being. 

- 30-50% of older people  say that their fear of another fall has caused them to lose confidence and they limit their activities. This is a false sense of security that usually increases their risk of falling again.  

And there are even more dire statistics, but you get the point.... Fall prevention is important.

What can you do about maintaining mobility and decreasing your risk of falling?

Podiatrists help you consider many things that may increase your risk of experiencing a fall. They can help you improve your balance and stability depending on your particular presentation. 

- Do you have numbness in your feet?
- Have you had a stroke?
- Are you wearing the best shoes to reduce your odds of falling? 
- Do you have weakness in your feet and legs?
- Do you have an area of pain you may be favoring and throwing off your gait?

Podiatrist foot & ankle specialists have access to many types of supports and devices that can be used to stabilize your feet and ankles in your shoes so you have a better foundation from which to move about.

These supports and devices range from over-the-counter devices to custom made supports and braces depending on your particular situation. There are even special "fall prevention supports & bracing devices" that patients are very happy with. 

These devices have a slim design. And because they are not real bulky, they fit into regular walking shoes.  They are custom made from casts of the patient's feet and ankles, and they have a soft padded lining with Velcro straps for easy removal.

These custom lightweight fall prevention foot & ankle support-braces allow for a more stable gait by improving your balance posture and decreasing sway from side-to-side as you walk.

Other fall prevention measures advised by Podiatrists include: 

- Balance, strength and movement exercises - Physical exercise therapy can play an important role in a person's ability to remain functionally mobile. And if you get into the habit of regularly doing certain feet and leg exercise movements, it can make a big difference in preventing a potentially life changing fall.

- Do some form of general exercise regularly. This doesn't mean you have to go to a fitness center; gardening and walking the dog count. Mindfulness exercise methods like Tai Chi can be  especially helpful for many seniors.

- There may be changes you can make inside your house to decrease your chance of falling and injuring yourself.  Do you use “throw rugs? Throw them away. They will throw you down.

- How is your furniture arranged? Is it difficult for you to move around a room because of how your furniture is arranged?  Do you always tend to stub your toe because of where a piece of furniture is placed? Move it.  Make your home safer by removing tripping hazards.

Add grab bars to the inside and outside of your bath tub or shower and next to the toilet. Add railings on both sides of stairways and improve the lighting in your residence so you can see where you are going.

Ask your doctor or pharmacist to review your medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or drug interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness. Maybe you do not necessarily need to still be taking a particular medicine?

- How is your eyesight? Is your eyeglass prescription out of date? Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your eyeglasses to make sure your vision is as good as it can be.

- How is the health of your ears? Much of your ability to balance comes from inside your ears.

- Health and vitality as you age is largely determined by the health of your feet and legs since they keep you moving and movement leads to better health and maintaining an independent lifestyle as we age. 

- Make the decision to get healthier now with improved strength, function, and health of your feet and legs. Look forward to an independent full life well into your senior years.

Avoid a potentially life changing event. If you or a family member believe you may be at risk of falling, or you have a fear of falling, contact a Podiatrist and discuss your particular case to see how you can maintain the freedom that comes with mobility. 

References

1.     Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. Web–based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQARS) [online].   Accessed November 30, 2010.
2.     Stevens JA.  Fatalities and injuries from falls among older adults – United States, 1993–2003 and 2001–2005. MMWR 2006a;55(45).
3.     Stevens JA, Corso PS, Finkelstein EA, Miller TR. The costs of fatal and nonfatal falls among older adults. Injury Prevention 2006b;12:290–5.
4.     Alexander BH, Rivara FP, Wolf ME. The cost and frequency of hospitalization for fall–related injuries in older adults. American Journal of Public Health 1992;82(7):1020–3.
5.   Stevens JA. Falls among older adults–risk factors and prevention strategies. NCOA Falls Free: Promoting a National Falls Prevention Action Plan. Research Review Papers. Washington &340;DC)&358; The National Council on the Aging; 2005a.     
 
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Technology will make, "I'm sorry, the doctor will have to see you first" the exception rather than the rule. 

More patients - who would have previously fallen into the above category - will be seen and heard over a secure Internet connection for a fraction of the cost, not face-to-face in the office. 

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A great merger of wi-fi, a fast streaming Internet and remote medical care

It should become the standard of care.

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"Vitamin D pathways in immune cells play a key role in chronic inflammation that, in turn, affects development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis"

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Lawsuit fears continue to drive healthcare costs higher

A survey of 435 emergency room physicians showed that 97% admitted to ordering some advanced imaging scans that weren't medically necessary.  

The system is beyond broken.

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Secretly recording doctor visits

Alright clinicians, y'all ready for this?

This article in JAMA discusses patients secretly and openly recording the audio of their encounter with the doctor. Other than what they say, caregivers have no control over this practice.

Would this practice change the way you communicate with patients? Would you begin to regularly  interject disclaimers when communicating with patients?

Whether caregiver or patient, how would you handle this? 

source - http://goo.gl/56oYUv
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Physician Misery Index not looking good

I was surprised these survey results were so negative. Are they in line with what you percieve?

http://goo.gl/AGIWs4
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Direct to consumer genetic testing has FDA okay

What do you think?...Good thing?...Bad?...Depends?

Here's what the genetic experts and a variety of healthcare professionals think.

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Bribing...I mean paying...people to pursue better health

In my last post, I mentioned a study that showed people in a poor neighborhood did not change their eating habits despite the fact that a government-sponsored, i.e., subsidized, full service supermarket came to the neighborhood (http://goo.gl/VqsUy4).

I raised the question about what motivates people to change their lifestyle for the better. Well, a city in Georgia, U.S.A. is planning on using one proven motivator - $$$cash$$$ - What d'ya think? 
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