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Ask a Devoted Doctor: Falls

Get answers to common questions about falls and fall prevention.

an illustrated checklist

In this series, Dr. Lindsay Carter answers your questions on a range of topics. The information provided doesn’t replace medical advice from your doctor. 

Q: What can I do to prevent falls? 

A: Many things can lead to falls, so there are a lot of ways to prevent falls, too! Here are a few common ways to lower your fall risk:

  • Talk with your doctor about your health. Certain health conditions can make a fall more likely, including neuropathy (loss of feeling in your feet), problems with balance or gait (how you walk), muscle weakness, or low vitamin D levels. Managing those conditions can help lower your risk of falling. You can also talk with your doctor about your risk for osteoporosis (weak bones), a condition that raises your risk of a fracture if you do fall.  
  • Review your medications. Certain medications can cause low blood pressure, dizziness, or confusion. Go over everything you take, including over-the-counter meds and herbal supplements, to see if anything you’re taking might put you at risk for falls. If you’re having side effects from your medications, talk to your doctor. You may be able to stop these medications, find safer alternatives, or lower the dose. 
  • Get your eyes and ears checked. Vision and hearing problems can make a fall more likely. Making sure you have the right glasses or hearing aids can help you move around more confidently. 
  • Get active — safely. Activities like physical therapy, strength exercises, or tai chi can help strengthen your muscles and improve your balance. Talk with your doctor about what kind of movement is right for you. 
  • Fall-proof your home. We spend a lot of time at home, and things like loose rugs or uneven steps can make a fall more likely. Check out these fall-proofing tips to see easy ways to lower your fall risk in every room of your home. 
  • If you drink alcohol, limit how much you drink. Alcohol can cause problems with balance and coordination, which can make a fall more likely. If you choose to drink, experts recommend no more than 2 drinks a day for men and no more than 1 drink a day for women. Check out these tips for cutting down on drinking.  

Q: What should I do if I fall?

A: Falling can be incredibly scary. If you fall, try your best to stay calm and take things one step at a time. 

  1. Check if you’re hurt. If yes, it may be best to stay still until help arrives. 
  2. Call for help. If you live alone, it’s a good idea to carry your phone with you, or wear a medical alert device so you can always get in touch with someone in an emergency. 
  3. Get the care you need. You may need treatment for broken bones or other injuries related to your fall. It’s especially important to get a full check-up after a fall if you have osteoporosis (which raises your risk of fractures) or if you take blood thinners (which may raise your risk of bleeding after a fall). 
  4. Plan for the future. Once you’ve recovered, talk with your doctor about what led to your fall and how you can prevent future falls and lower your risk of serious injury. It’s important to do this even if you weren’t seriously injured in your fall. 

Need a medical alert device?
Devoted Health plans include a free device and free monthly service to answer your alerts. Give us a call at 1-800-338-6833 (TTY 711) or text us at 86685 to learn more.