( Part III )
By J. Manuel Cordova, M. D.
From the time we are born and first start to walk, we experience falls. Then, life parody comes again as we grow older and experience falls in a more serious way. You’ve heard the saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When it comes to Falls, ‘Prevention’ is definitely the key!
What can you do?
Have a Strategy
First, you must have self-conviction and knowledge of the real situation to accept the potential risk. Next, conduct a thorough screening of your exposure. Create a plan:
Use assistive device (cane, walker, etc.)
Review current medications with qualified specialist
Evaluate home safety
Know How to Fall
If you feel yourself falling, ‘think fast.’ Resisting the fall sometimes will result in a more serious injury. If you allow yourself to fall, it may be less of a strain on your body. It’s impossible to say exactly what to do. Each circumstance is unique. Try to ease the fall by using your hands or arms. Your fall may still result in an injury, but hopefully, not serious.
When your lower extremity is injured, you are more likely to be immobilized; however, head, back and neck injuries can result in very serious consequences and require extensive rehabilitation time.
Proper exercise can help maintain a better sense of balance. Stand on one leg, opposite leg bent at the knee, arms stretched out to the side, body straight. Hold for 10 seconds, and then change legs. Repeat 10 times. Pretend you’re on a balance beam. Walk a very straight line, turn and continue for several minutes. Try not to look down. Dancing is a great exercise to help balance, not to mention fun. Water aerobics is very good if you have access to a pool.
There are several yoga positions that are excellent for balance, depending on your physical capabilities. Stretching and light weights is a good workout to use at home.
Diet and Nutrition
Proper Diet and Nutrition are key elements in maintaining overall good health. The key vitamins and amino acids that impact the brain to stimulate your sense of balance are B6, B complex, C, E, Beta Carotene, Choline (P-Choline), Inositol, and Cysteine.
Mineral supplementation with Zinc, Magnesium, Boron, Selenium, Folic Acid, and Coenzyme Q10 are also good.
Daily, drink a lot of water and limit alcohol consumption to no more than three ounces.
(Note: Not all supplements are good or necessary for your body. Some could even cause physical instability if taken in conjunction with certain other supplements or medications.)
Wearing the right shoes is essential, inside and outside the home. A nice walking shoe with laces and good arch support are the best. The feet (and arches) carry our weight and perform heavy duty work on a daily basis. A foot massage now and then could help a lot.
The cobblestone streets in the lakeside area are extremely difficult to walk on. Anyone at any age would find them difficult. Try using a walking cane/stick when walking outside.
A ‘Hip Protector’ is also an option for preventive treatment and might lessen an injury to your hip. A recent study showed hip fractures reduced by 75% for people wearing a hip protector. This protection may also improve self-confidence and help reduce the fear of falling.
(Ed. Note: J. Manuel Cordova is a practicing Internal Medicine and Geriatrics Specialist who also specializes in Chelation Therapy/ Wellness/Anti-Aging/Hormone Replacement. He is a full-time resident of Lakeside.)