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Fracture Prevention: 6 Tips to Fight Fractures, Slips, and Falls

Learn how just a little effort and forethought today can help you prevent fractures tomorrow.

Fracture Prevention Tip: Know How Medicines Might Affect You continued...

But given that you need these medicines for other health reasons and can't just stop taking them, what should you do? Go over all the drugs you take with your doctor. Bring in a list or the bottles themselves. Keep in mind that one doctor -- like your primary care provider -- might not know what other doctors -- like your cardiologist, or rheumatologist -- have prescribed.
If any of the medicines you take are increasing your risk of falls, see what can be done. It's possible that your doctor can change your dosage or change medicines altogether so that you're less likely to take a fall.

And keep in mind that alcohol -- along with illicit drugs -- are also a risk. Anything that impairs your functioning bumps up your risk of falling.

Fracture Prevention Tip: Lighten Up

As you age, you may notice that your vision isn't quite as keen as it once was. Sometimes this is due to a treatable health condition, like cataracts. But it's also the result of natural, physiologic changes that can't be controlled.

"As we get older, we lose some of the contrast sensitivity in our vision," says John Schousboe, MD, director of the Park Nicollet Clinic Osteoporosis Center in St. Louis Park, MN. "This makes it harder to discern objects," especially in low light. So you need to brighten up your home. Here are some tips.

  • Install overhead lights in all rooms, so you don't have to stumble around in the dark to find the lamp.
  • Use nightlights in your bedroom, bathroom and any hallways that connect them.
  • Make sure all stairways, both inside and outside, are well lit.
  • Keep a flashlight by your bed.

If you're concerned about the high electric bills that could come with brightening up your home, consider compact fluorescent bulbs. They work in regular light sockets and offer the same amount of light as traditional incandescent bulbs, but use much less electricity. They also last much longer, which reduces the number of times you have to hazard standing on a stepladder to change a bulb.

Fracture Prevention Tip: "Fall-Proof" Your Home

Given that you probably spend the bulk of time in your home, a key part of fracture prevention is to make it safer. But this advice is often ignored. "Many people just don't do a very good job fall-proofing their homes," says Amin.

So what should you do?

  • Keep rooms free of clutter -- get rid of those piles of clothes and boxes of papers.
  • Put down carpet or plastic runners on polished -- and potentially slippery -- floors.
  • Get throw rugs, electric cords, and phone lines off the floor.
  • Make sure to have handrails on all stairs.
  • Install railings in the bathroom around the toilet and the shower.
  • Put a rubber mat on the floor of your bath or shower.

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