We know that falling is a serious risk for older Americans: Falls are the leading cause of fatal injuries among seniors, and one in four seniors will fall every year. Every 19 minutes an older person dies from complications of a fall.
What’s new is the organization that just formed a task force to address falling in the elderly: the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE).
Falling? An endocrine issue?
An article in the Association’s journal Endocrine Practice notes that type 2 diabetes is implicated in many falls. The article notes that over 400 factors are associated with the risk of falls in the elderly, but type 2 diabetes is one of the most significant.
Older people with type 2 diabetes are more likely to fall than nondiabetics of similar age. One reason for this is that diabetics often lose sensation in their feet, a diabetic complication known as peripheral neuropathy. And if you can’t feel your feet, you’re more likely to fall. And while diabetes is a disease of high blood sugar, diabetics are also subject to hypoglycemia if their blood sugar falls too low. According to a study in the Journal of Managed Care and Specialty Pharmacy, hypoglycemia in elderly diabetics results in a twofold increase in falls over the course of a year.
Moreover, diabetics often take several medications, a practice known as polypharmacy. Polypharmacy is itself a risk factor for falling, since the more medications a person takes, the more likely those medications are to interact and result in an issue, such as dizziness or impaired cognitive function, that can precipitate a fall.
In short, while every senior has to worry about falling, diabetics — and those who care for and love them — need to be especially careful.
At the Regency Nursing and Rehabilitation Centers, we offer the very best of care in the most appropriate and patient-centered environment. This means always listening to our residents and patients and respecting their capabilities, while helping them to achieve maximum functionality and independence. And always maintaining the highest professional and quality standards in our staff and our facilities. Our 25 years of excellent care have led to us being awarded a Best Nursing Homes award by US News & World Today, a 5-Star rating by USA Today, and an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau, among many other awards.
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