Falls aren’t good for anyone. But it’s extra important to avoid accidents if you have osteoporosis or if you've got low bone density, also called osteopenia. Because your bones are weaker, falls can cause them to break easier.
If you’re 65 or older, know that 1 in 3 adults in this age group falls every year -- and the odds go up with each decade. Fortunately, there’s plenty you can do to protect yourself.
If you're one of the 34 million Americans (women and men) who are at risk for the disease, you know that strengthening and protecting your bones is crucial. Osteoporosis means porous bones that weaken and can fracture with even minor incidents.
Some 55% of people 50 and older have osteoporosis or reduced bone mass. But "you can live with osteoporosis for a long, long time and never have complications such as fractures -- if you take certain precautions," says Felicia Cosman, MD, osteoporosis expert...
About half of all falls happen at home. But the hazards that cause them are easy to spot and fix.
1. Clear your walkways and stairs. Shoes, books, and low decorative items (such as vases and baskets) are examples of things you could trip over.
2. Use an adhesive to keep your rugs down. You may want to get rid of small throw rugs, which can slip easily and cause you to fall.
3. Put non-slip mats in the bottom of your bathtub or on the floor of your shower. Wet surfaces are always dangerous.
4. Put handrails on your staircases, and use them. You may want to have grab bars put in your shower stall and next to your toilet.
5. Make sure your house is well-lit. Turn the lights on whenever you plan to be in a room or walkway -- even if you’re passing through. Keep a flashlight with new batteries near your bed, too.
6. Keep items you use often (like cooking supplies) in low, easy-to-reach places. Having to reach for high places or use a stool raises your odds of a fall.
7. Don’t walk around in slippers, stockings, or socks. Don’t go barefoot either, if possible. Instead, wear low-heeled shoes with rubber soles. These can keep you from slipping on slick surfaces like tile and wood floors.
8. Wear comfortable shoes. Again, make sure they have rubber soles. They’ll give you traction and make you less likely to slip on slick surfaces.
9. If the sidewalk is wet or it might be icy, walk on the grass. Even if you’re not sure, don’t take the chance.