Top 4 Risk Factors For Falls and how to decrease fall risk in Dallas Fort Worth | Prime MD Plus. DFW Area

Top 4 Risk Factors For Falls and how to decrease fall risk in Dallas Fort Worth

Dr. Divya Javvaji, MD
Prime MD Plus

The topic of fall prevention might not seem very interesting, yet, it is of great importance! It affects the most vulnerable population – the elderly.

Older people constitute a large share of our population, and unless you have witnessed the complications that arise from these falls, you will not realize the gravity of the situation.

There are many risk factors for falls in the elderly, and it keeps increasing with age. Falls do not just happen due to external factors, in fact, they can be one of the first indications of an underlying illness.

While working on the extrinsic risk factors for falls can help, the key lies in having a well-rounded approach toward overall health.

So, the most important question is – what are the risk factors for falls?

The risk factors for falls in the elderly can be intrinsic or extrinsic. Falls do not necessarily happen due to one single factor but, in most cases, a combination of multiple intrinsic and extrinsic factors.

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These are broadly classified into four categories:

1. Musculoskeletal problems 

A healthy human, irrespective of age or gender, will have their muscles and bones working in coordination, thus enabling them to walk efficiently without any external support.

If this ability is hampered due to any reason, it will invariably lead to a fall. While in younger people, the occurrence of falls is possible, healing also occurs rapidly.

Whereas in older people, falls usually lead to secondary injuries, which can be very dangerous in some cases.

Muscle weakness, arthritis, difficulty walking independently, impairment in the arm or leg, decreased range of motion, postural issues, and balance issues due to weakness, in general, are a part of this category.

The presence of chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and circulatory diseases also contributes to the prevalence of falls.

The presence of nutritional deficiencies can also affect the overall energy levels and gait (ability to walk). New treatments like the Emsculpt NEO platform can help you burn fat and build muscle quickly without surgery or medication. This can help to decrease your risk of falling.

2. Neurologic diseases 

The brain and the human body work in sync to carry out our daily activities. Degenerative neurologic disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and Huntington’s disease lead to a decline in mental functioning, thus severely affecting cognitive and motor skills.

To put this simply, these diseases break down the nerve cells in the brain and drastically affect our ability to carry out our day-to-day activities.

Such people need extra care and cannot be left unsupervised due to the potential risk of falling.

Conditions like epilepsy, severe autism, and impaired cognitive behavior are also contributing risk factors for falls in the elderly. Disease control is especially important in these patients to reduce fall risk.

Drugs used to treat neurological conditions, and chronic diseases can also be accounted for the rising cases of falls among the elderly. Medicines that generally make you sleepy or reduce your reaction time are also complicating factors.

3. Psychosocial factors 

Factors like fear of falling, depression, and living alone are responsible for increasing falls in the elderly. If a person has a history of falls, this increases their chances of having an injury. It leads to reduced physical movement, slower reflexes, and obstructs daily activities.

Sedentary behavior is also responsible for the breakdown of muscles around unstable joints. Living alone also poses a risk as it requires taking care of the chores single-handedly. Depression can drastically affect reflexes and motor skills, which in turn may lead to falls.

4. Extrinsic factors/ environmental hazards 

Environmental factors and external conditions greatly influence the risk factors for fall-related injuries in the elderly. Environmental hazards like poor lighting, uneven flooring, stairs, and slippery floors are some trouble-causing examples.

Even though some external factors can cause healthy individuals to trip too, what the elderly lack is good balance or righting mechanisms for preventing a fall. Inappropriate walking devices or poorly fitting clothes or footwear may also cause problems.

Extrinsic risk factors for falls still play a major role with the elderly who are physically active.

Why are risk factors important?

As we know, falls among the elderly population are a serious health concern. It poses serious health issues like fractures and brain damage, reducing the confidence levels needed to carry out simple daily activities.

Both physically active and inactive elderly are at risk of falling, and that is why it is important to learn about the potential risk factors and how to prevent them.

How to reduce falls among the elderly?

  • Exercising regularly with a focus on balance exercises can significantly benefit the overall health of the elderly population. Exposure to sunlight and enjoying fresh air are the most underrated pieces of advice but still work the best.
  • Strength training at least once a week. This might sound bizarre and far-fetched for the older population, who are struggling to get out of bed every day. However, it can make your joints stronger and your metabolism better. Stronger bones will prevent fractures and the serious conditions that it leads to.
  • Annual eye check-ups are very important as they prevent falling due to impaired or poor night vision. It will also help your doctor to detect glaucoma or cataracts at an early stage.
  • Decluttering your home and keeping your space well-lit and clutter-free can help you avoid tripping due to a physical object. Make sure that the wires are aligned and clung to the walls instead of obstructing your path.
  • Using non-slip mats in the bathrooms and kitchen can also be very helpful.
  • Investing in secure footwear. Non-slip soles should be a necessity in your life. Ensure that your shoes fit you well and are comfortable to prevent any injury.
  • Reviewing your medication as taking multiple medicines at the same time (including over-the-counter pills, prescription drugs, or herbal remedies) can pose a risk too. Avoid using prescription medication for an inappropriate length of time (known as polypharmacy).

How Prime MD Plus can help

Falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults and can lead to a decline in health and independence.

If you or a loved one have experienced a fall, it’s important to get assessed by a medical professional to determine the underlying causes and risk factors.

Prime MD Plus is a medical clinic with a board-certified geriatrician who can help evaluate falls and treat the underlying causes.

We offer risk assessments, falls prevention education, and human services referrals to help our patients stay safe and independent. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Depending on the age-old phrase and advice, prevention is better than cure; hence, the most important part is to focus on prevention. The fact that many cases aren’t reported to doctors is troublesome.

The first step is to get an early assessment from your healthcare provider and analyze the future risks.

They will also help you with fall prevention strategies that will help you lead a normal life.

It is also important to have regular physical activity to prevent falls.

If you are looking to consult with a board-certified geriatric doctor in the Dallas-Fort Worth area about falls, or need help managing balance issues without medication, visit

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