Set Up to Fall

Numbers don’t lie. Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for people aged 65 and up. Now comes new research that reveals 9 in 10 seniors may be at risk for falling because they take medications designed to limit harm from high blood pressure, depression, and chronic pain.

Researchers at The University of Buffalo School of Public Health investigated the link between falls and medications over 18 years. They found a stunning correlation between falls, and the rise in prescription use. Women, especially black women, were most likely to be prescribed these drugs. White women, aged 65 and up, were the most likely to die from the effects of falling.

Doctors say they cannot prove certain medications caused the fatal falls. Nevertheless, they already know it is very common for seniors to take multiple medications. And, it’s still all too uncommon for doctors and patients to talk about the risks of using several drugs that could trigger dizziness or balance issues. In addition, some patients may already be unsteady because of other health conditions besides high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, chronic pain, or frailty.

If you have concerns, or are concerned for your parents or clients, experts urge you to make a list of meds and head to your doctor and local pharmacy for a review. Ask about safer alternatives, and lower dosage. Insist on an annual review, but don’t stop taking your medications without talking to your doctor first.

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