Falls Can Cause Brain Injuries for Older Adults
Concussions aren’t just an issue for football players. Older people are suffering
concussions and other brain injuries at an alarming rate, according to new research
from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Of all age groups, people ages 75 and older had the highest risk for brain injuries.
In 2013, one in 45 Americans this age sustained a brain injury leading to an emergency
room visit, hospital stay, or death.
Falls caused most of these brain injuries. As you age, your vision and reflexes may
become less sharp. In addition, you may take medicines or have health conditions that
increase your risk of falling.
A Knock to Your Noggin
Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) result from a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts
normal brain functioning. A concussion is considered a mild TBI. Yet it can still
have serious effects. Symptoms may include:
Trouble thinking clearly
Irritability or anxiety
Are You Heading for a Fall?
Luckily, most falls are avoidable. Take these steps to protect yourself:
Do exercises, such as tai chi, that improve your balance.
Get your vision checked every year.
Keep your home well-lit. Remove items you could trip over.
Ask your doctor to assess your risk of falling, including reviewing any medicines
you take or talking about conditions that may make you more vulnerable. Discuss specific
ways to reduce your risk.