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Many of us take medications throughout our lives to help with all sorts of issues and conditions. While these medicines are intended to help, some of them have side effects. For example, some medications come with an increased risk of falls. This issue is especially relevant for seniors, as many can deal with a fall-related incident at some point.
Learning more about your medications and their side effects is a great way to start preventing falls associated with taking medicine. Read on to find out what to look for, and which steps you can start taking to keep you safe.
Certain medications can affect vital functions of the body, increasing the risk of falls.
Some medications can affect your blood pressure. If you’re taking medication to lower your blood pressure, you could be at increased risk of falling. Blood pressure medications can cause lightheadedness and fainting, especially if you stand up suddenly after sitting. This can lead to more falls. In addition, high blood pressure can cause peripheral arterial disease, which can affect your legs. High blood pressure also causes strain on the heart and arteries, damaging them and possibly reducing the amount of blood that flows to vital organs in the body.
Certain areas of the brain affect a person’s balance, especially the cerebellum. Some medications can prevent important signals from reaching the cerebellum, causing balance problems. Medications can also affect balance in general, causing dizziness, fatigue and lightheadedness.
Blood sugar provides your brain with the energy to execute its vital functions, especially maintaining balance and posture. Medications that manage or lower blood sugar can lower the amount of energy that goes to the brain, which makes it harder for your body to maintain balance.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if the medications you currently take have any of the mentioned side effects. They should have a complete list of your medications and can further instruct you in possible side effects and complications. Learning more about prevention will help reduce your risk of falls.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent medication-related falls. Here are three suggestions:
Consult with your doctor or pharmacist and perform a review every year of any medications you are taking. Mention any concerns you have about falls in your environment. Your doctor or pharmacist may also want to assess medications during these reviews to determine if there’s an increased risk of falling while taking them.
Most, if not all, medications are required to list the possible side effects of their usage. Check the labels of your medicines to see if there’s an increased risk of falling. You may need extra consultation to determine if there’s an alternative medicine you can take, or if the side effects are worth the risk.
Medications are meant to be taken at their precise time with the precise dosage. Skipping them or taking the incorrect amount can increase your risk of falling, in addition to other complications.
At Peabody Retirement Community, wellness is a major part of celebrating the ageless spirit! Learn more about the Billie Jane Strauss Wellness Center which offers a vibrant setting where you can thrive and grow—at all ages and stages of life. Learn more about the senior living options we have to offer at Peabody, and contact our team today to schedule a personal tour.