Balance Problems are Big Risk Factors
Several important risk factors make a femur fracture more likely. Among these are low bone mineral density (called osteoporosis), vision problems, and previous bone fractures; however, one of the biggest risk factors is balance problems. When people have trouble with their balance, they are more likely to suffer a serious fall injury, which makes it more likely for someone to experience a femur fracture. Because of this, it is essential for everyone to understand why some people might suffer from balance issues and how they can improve their coordination.
Balance Issues with the Elderly
Balance problems and falls are particularly problematic in the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about a third of people over the age of 65 will suffer a serious fall. An improved balance and coordination could prevent someone from suffering a devastating fall incident that could result in a femur injury.
Why Do People Suffer From Balance Problems?
As people age, their ability to balance starts to decline. Several reasons why people lose their ability to balance as they get older include:
- Loss of Vestibular Cells: The body’s balance center resides in the inner ear. At this location, there are vestibular cells that connect to the brain and control balance. As people start to fall, these cells send a signal to the brain that helps the body adjust and remain upright. With age, these vestibular cells begin to die off. This makes it harder for people to stay balanced.
- Blood Pressure Problems: When people stand up quickly, their vision might start to fade. Colloquially, this is often called a “head rush.” This head rush results from a sudden drop in blood pressure inside the brain. With age, the body’s ability to adjust its blood pressure and prevent this “head rush” will start to decline. Therefore, if people stand up too quickly, their blood pressure might drop precipitously. This could cause someone to pass out, lose their balance, and fall.
- Declining Muscle Strength: With age, the body starts to lose its lean muscle mass and strength. Without this muscle tissue, it is harder for the body to adjust and remain upright. Less muscle mass makes it harder for the body to balance. This also impacts the body’s reflexes and coordination, compounding the body’s balance problems.
While these changes are often unavoidable, there are still measures that everyone can take to compensate for reduced balance. These precautions are necessary because they reduce the risk of suffering a severe fall.
Compensating for Poor Balance: Taking Appropriate Precautions
Unfortunately, despite everyone’s intentions, balancing ability will decline with age. Because of this, it is crucial for individuals and families to take precautions that will compensate for poor balance. Some of the most important measures include:
- Clothing: Clothing is one of the most common culprits when it comes to poor balance and falls. Everyone should wear comfortable clothing that doesn’t constrict the muscles. Make sure that the pant legs do not cover the feet and obstruct the gait. Ensure that all shoes fit appropriately and provide ankle support for improved balance.
- Railings: Ensure that there are railings and banisters in as many locations as possible. It is essential to place railings around fall-prone areas. This includes hallways, staircases, and the bathroom, where the floors can be slick.
- Lighting: One of the ways to improve balance and reduce falls is to improve people’s vision by adding additional lighting. This is even more important in locations that are used in the dark, such as the bathroom and the bedroom. Adding nightlights can also be helpful.
- Stairs: If possible, those with balance problems should avoid stairs. Particularly during the later years, people should try to eliminate steps outside of the home and place the house on a single level if possible. Shorter staircases could be replaced with ramps. Remember to add railings on the sides of these ramps.
The goal of improving balance is to reduce the risk of falls, which could also prevent devastating femur fractures.
Watch YouTube Video: Physical Therapy – Improving Balance and Preventing Falls. This video explains how older adults can improve their balance and prevent falls by working with a physical therapist.
Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Femur Fracture Lawyer. If an individual has issues with balance, he or she could be at risk of suffering a severe femur fracture. If you or someone love has suffered a femur fracture in a traumatic accident, reach out to me at (800) 404-5400 or (916) 921-6400 to receive free, friendly legal guidance and advice.
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