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Osteoporosis - How To Prevent Future Falls & Fractures

Falls are a major source of fractures. The likelihood that you will fall depends on both personal and environmental factors.

A fall may occur because your reflexes have slowed over time, making them less able to react quickly to a sudden shift in body position. Loss of muscle mass may occur as you age, which can diminish your strength. Changes in vision and hearing can also affect your balance, as can the use of alcohol and certain medications. People with chronic illnesses that affect their circulation, sensation, mobility, or mental alertness are more likely to fall. To reduce your risk of falling, keep this personal safety checklist in mind:

Stay active to maintain muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.
• Have your vision and hearing checked regularly and corrected as needed.
• Discuss your medications with your doctor to see if one of them (or their combination) might lead to falls.

At any age, people can make changes in their environment to reduce their risk of falling and breaking a bone. The following safety checklists provide a few tips that should help:


• Use nightlights throughout your home.
• Keep all rooms free from clutter, especially the floors.
• Keep floor surfaces smooth but not slippery. When entering rooms, be aware of differences in floor levels and thresholds.
• Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes even at home. Avoid walking around in socks, stockings, or floppy slippers.
• Check that all carpets and area rugs have skid-proof backing or are tacked to the floor, including carpeting on stairs.
• Keep electrical cords and telephone lines out of walkways.
• Be sure that all stairways are well lit and that stairs have handrails on both sides. Consider placing fluorescent tape on the edges of top and bottom steps.
• Install grab bars on bathroom walls beside tubs, showers, and toilets. If you are unstable on your feet, consider using a plastic chair with a back and nonskid leg tips in the shower.
• Use a rubber bathmat in the shower or tub.
• Keep a flashlight with extra batteries beside your bed.
• Add ceiling fixtures to rooms lit only by lamps, or install lamps that can be turned on by a switch near the entrance to the room.
• Use at least 100-watt light bulbs in your home.


• In bad weather, consider using a cane or walker for extra stability.
• In winter, wear warm boots with rubber soles for added traction.
• Look carefully at floor surfaces in public buildings. Many floors are made of highly polished marble or tile that can be very slippery. When floors have plastic or carpet runners in place, try to stay on them whenever possible.
• Use a shoulder bag, fanny pack, or backpack to leave hands free.
• Stop at curbs to check height before stepping up or down. Be cautious at curbs that have been cut away to allow access for bikes or wheelchairs. The incline may lead to a fall.